Hello, I'm writing you because this is sort of an embarrassing question. I've tried to find answers online to no avail.
I'm a 21-year-old female. As far back as I can remember, perhaps starting in high school, I've had extremely sensitive nipples. They will harden at random, when they're barely touched, or in the slightest change of temperature. When I'm not wearing a bra they become very uncomfortable and irritated. Even the softest shirt feels like sand paper, many times open air will feel irritating and uncomfortable. They are most comfortable when they are protected by the fabric and stability of my bra, but they are still very sensitive. It may be important to note that I have fairly large breasts and I am not overweight.
These sensations have intensified throughout the past five or more years. It's gotten to the point where I almost never take off my bra. Practically the only time I don't wear a bra is in the shower or during sexual activity. It may be important to mention that I've only engaged in same-sex sex, and I became sexually active at age 15. Therefore, I am not and have never been pregnant. It may also be important to note that during sexual activity stimulation to and around my nipples is not uncomfortable or painful in any way, but it is pleasurable. I should probably also note that I haven't engaged in sexual activity for more than six months, so the sensitivity can't be attributed to frequent stimulation.
Sometimes I notice dry skin in my nipple area, but they are so sensitive I can't stand to touch them to try to remove the dry skin. The dry skin usually washes away after a shower. I've tried putting lotion on them a couple times, which doesn't seem to have much of an effect except a very uncomfortable experience when the lotion is applied.
I've inspected my nipples several times to see if I can figure out what might be going on. I've noticed a yellowish tinge in the very center of both of my nipples. I'm not sure what this coloration comes from, or if it's always been there. If they weren't so sensitive, I would try to rub them to see if the coloration was a build up of dead skin or discharge. The coloration DOES seem to be a pigment in my skin and NOT a crusty build-up of any kind. Aside from what I have just described, my nipples appear to be normal and the yellow coloration is only noticeable upon close examination.
I am writing to you to see if there is any medical explanation for both the extreme sensitivity of my nipples, and yellow pigmentation. Is nipple sensitivity a symptom of any larger problem? Could my nipples have become more sensitive after I became sexually active? Is there anything I can do to make it bearable to not wear a bra?
Any information you can provide me would be greatly appreciated. This is a serious question and I hope it isn't dismissed as inappropriate. Thank you!
You are describing nipple sensitivity that is more extreme than average but not abnormal. Everyone has varying degrees of nerve sensitivity in highly innervated body parts, and yours is such that you protect yourself from stimulation because it is unpleasant to experience it except in a sexual context.
It is possible that protecting your nipples is actually resulting in them not desensitizing to contact. It is advisable to regularly rub them, put lotion on them, go braless when it is convenient, simply to desensitize the tissue and nerve endings and eventually you will be less bothered by the sensations you experience now.
You haven't mentioned whether you have had a health care provider examine your breasts and nipples to look at the color inside the nipple openings, but it sounds within the range of normal
This is something we hear from other women (and men) so making an appointment with a women's health practitioner for an exam and discussion makes sense.