questions about inverted nipples

Hi everyone,

I hope you can help me, I think my nipple has retracted, I say think because it still pops out a bit when cold but if I try to pinch it it just disappears again. Otherwise, when warm it’s either flat or inverted. Is it usual for an inverted nipple to pop out when it’s cold?

I’ve been worrying myself so much over the weekend, I didn’t realise a sudden inverted nipple was anything to worry about, it’s been like it for about a month, but when I googled nipple retraction on friday I found other things that have been happening too. My nipple sometimes feels like it’s leaking, although I always check and it’s not, it feels like the feeling you get when you breast feed, but I haven’t done that for 3.5 years! Sometimes it can be a bit itchy too, but I’m wondering if thats just a normal itch and I’m looking too much into it!

I have got a dr’s appointment on wednesday, but I’m so worried that he wont refer me to the breast clinic as I’m only 23 and I don’t seem to have a lump (I keep worrying I’ve found a lump but to be honest I think it’s probably just normal breast tissue), but my left breast (the one with the inverted nipple) has been feeling different, but I couldn’t say how it feels different if that makes sense.

I know googling symptoms is never a good idea, but a couple of years ago I googled the deja vu I was having and it turned out to be epilepsy which was confirmed by the hospital, so now I’m paranoid that my symptoms could be breast cancer.

I’m so worried now that waiting until wednesday feels like the longest wait, and if I do get referred then I’ll have to wait until at least next monday as our local breast clinic only runs on mondays, argh, I’m doing my own head in!

I’d rather just know either way as I’m a huge worrier. Has anyone else had symptoms like mine?

Sorry for the huge post, but I needed to get it all off my chest! Thankyou to anyone who replies, I admire you all so much for helping others while you are all going through difficult times yourselves.

Cat xxx

Hi Cat,

It’s good that you are getting it checked out. Try not to google anything else otherwise you will worry yourself sick.

It can be a sign of BC as i’m sure you have found now, but hopefully it will all be fine in your case.

Fingers crossed.

Paula xx

Hi Cat

I’m sorry to read you’re having such a worrying time. As well as the support you receive from the others users if you need to talk things through please don’t hesitate to give The BCC helpline a call. Here you can share your concerns with a trained member of staff who is either a breast care nurse or has experience of breast cancer. The number to call is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9 to 5 and Saturday 9 to 2.

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards
Sam (BCC Facilitator)

Hi, thanks for the replies,

No more googling, I promise! I’ve done enough of that I think!

Another thing regarding my inverted nipple, say it’s cold and has popped out a bit (no where near as much as it used to) if I press a certain area just above the nipple it draws right back in again, really deeply. On the area that I press I can sometimes feel a hardness and just next to that hardness, behind the nipple, there seems to be a very small lump, but like I said earlier, I’m not sure if that is normal breast tissue or not. Does this ring any bells to anyone?

Also a question regarding biopsies, if no lump is found on the mammogram or ultrasound do they still do a biopsy? I just want the whole lot done to be honest, just to put my mind at ease.

I found out today that a great aunt had a double mastectomy, it shocked me quite a bit as I didn’t realise anyone in my family had had BC. I don’t know anything about my Dad’s side of the family as he’s adopted, so there could be so much I don’t know about.

Thanks again,

Cat xxx

Hi Cat

I agree with all that Paula has said (hope you are well Paula) and it is most important you get it checked out. Waiting is always hard but weds will come soon. Your GP will refer you if he/she thinks its necessary and then you will have another wait. However, if it is marked as urgent you will be seen within 2 weeks. We all understand what it’s like so please keep us posted.

Love and hugs

Julia xx

Hello Cat
Don’t let your GP put you off because you’re so young.

Just insist quietly on a referral - inverted nipples can be a sign of BC - and sadly BC can happen to young women too.
Let’s hope it turns out to be nothing but you must get it checked out.
Good luck and let us know what happens.
Anthi x

Hi again,

Thanks again for the messages of support.

I have my doctors appointment this morning and I’m so worried about messing it up (last time I saw my neurologist I was trying to say that the side effects of my medication were too bad to deal with and I ended up leaving with her having doubled my doseage!!!)

As I have mentioned before, my nipple still comes out when it is cold (though I cannot pinch it, it just inverts again) So I’m worried that I’ll look like an idiot saying my nipple has inverted then having it look nearly normal. If I don’t get a referral then I will see another Dr, but thats more waiting and waiting for this appointment has been agony.

I’d really like to know if anyone else who has had inverted nipples because of cancer has had them where they will still pop out when cold?

Thanks again,

Cat xx

Hi Cat, yes my nipple kept sinking in, or kind of pointinh upwards rather than forwards. Sometimes it just looked normal. I am also 29, so it is possible at our age…BUT i really hope that everything turns out ok for you. Really push for that referral, good luck with your appointment today.

Paula x

Hi again,

I just got back from the Dr’s. I hate getting my top off, but it had to be done. Luckily he did feel the lump and he did accept that my nipple was inverted, despite it not looking too inverted at the time!

But, because of my age (23) and because the lump is smooth he has gone for a non-urgent referral. Oh no, more waiting! But at least I got the referral, I was so worried he’d just dismiss me for being young!

Thanks Paula, I’m relieved to hear that I’m not just being a hypochondriac (or am I? Sometimes I wish I was!) I’ve been so worried that I’ve just been imagining these symptoms and to hear that other people have had the same is kind of relieving, or is it? I’m not actually sure!

Thanks again everyone,

Cat xx

Cat - glad to hear that the gp took you seriously and is referring you on even though not as an urgent referral… if you find anymore changes happen before the appointment do ring the hospital as they might be able to fit you in sooner - especially if you are able to make a late cancellation etc…

I do hope it is not bad news - cysts and some benign conditions can also cause nipples to invert but you are doing the right thing in getting this seen too…

Take care

Theresa x

Hi, I’m glad that you got your referral but it is a poor system that just because of your age you get a non urgent one.

I am not trying to panic you just replying to your orginal question. My nipple started to invert, not all the time but I just became more aware of it over a couple of months, but I had not long had a baby and thought it was probably something to do with that. Eventually though I thought that i’d better have a feel around. Although I didn’t know what I was looking for I felt a hardness (rather than a specific lump) around the top of my breast above the nipple. I immediately made a doctors apt for the next day. She had a feel round and made me an urgent apt at the hospital. Six days later it was confirmed that I had bc. At the hospital they did keep saying, have you breast fed? and this could possibly be the reason in your case if you have. So please try not to panic. I also had a cyst in my left breast that I knew nothing about.

Take care and let us know how you get on, hassle your doctor if apt is too far in the future.

Jo xx (ps i’m 42, 41 when diagnosed)

Hi, Schmooley,

What you have said about the hardening actually rings a bell. Right next to the lump that I have (which is very small, so small I wasn’t even sure it was a lump) there is a hardness. From one angle it feels like the edge of a large lump, but from other angles it feels like slightly harder than normal tissue. If I lift my breast it is more pronounced. Stupidly in my haste I didn’t mention this to the doctor. Maybe when I get my hospital appointment through I could ring them and mention this, it might get my appointment moved forward a bit.

I must admit, I was a bit miffed at only getting a non urgent referral because of my age, I’m sure I’ve read that NICE guidelines say that anyone with an inverted nipple should get an urgent referral? I’ll have a look in a minute.

Thanks for all the support everyone, you lot are amazing people!

Cat xx

Just had a look and yes, anyone with a newly inverted nipple should be referred as an urgent case, I’ll definitely mention that when the hospital contacts me. I’m usually quite patient about hospital appointments, but in this case, definitely not!!

Cat xx

I’ve also read somewhere on this forum this morning that if you have two or more symptoms you should get an urgent referral. I think just for sanities sake you should be seen early as the waiting is the worst part. My GP had a fantastic system where she just went on the computer whilst I was there with her and booked me an appointment, I was quite impressed.

Fingers (and toes) crossed for you

Jo xx

Thanks Jo, Now that’s a good system your Dr has. I have to admit, as soon as I got my top back on I wanted to leg it!!! I stayed long enough to find out if he was referring me and choose which hospital (think I chose the wrong one now!) and I pretty much ran out the door! I don’t know how I’m going to manage having the other tests done, I’m thinking it might be a bit easier in an actual breast clinic where they see them all day everyday. I’ve been pretty sensitive about going topless since breastfeeding, stretchmarks and quite a large difference in size (ones a b cup the others a c cup) plus being pretty overweight, not such a pretty sight!

Feeling a bit better today about the whole thing. Infact I’ve pretty much convinced myself that it’s just a cyst, although I’ve not heard anything about cysts making your niples itch or feel like they’re leaking. Anyone had that?

Cat xx

my nipple was a bit inverted i didnt really notice it that much but i noticed a ‘hardness’ just above it. I went to the GP and he noticed the inverted nipple and referred me to BC. I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer so it is worth taking very seriously any changes that you feel in your breast.

Hi Cat,

If the guidelines say you’re entitled to an urgent referral I wouldn’t wait for the hospital to contact you. They will go by what your GP has said and it could be a very long wait. I suggest you contact your GP surgery, quote the guidelines, and ask for your referral to be changed.

Some areas are better than others but I had an urgent referral and still had to phone the breast clinic to chase it up after 2 weeks.

Best of luck. I hope it turns out to be something simple but you are doing the right thing having it checked.

Jan xx

Thanks Saffronseed and JanB,

Our local hospitals are usually pretty quick in getting in touch. If I haven’t had a letter today I’ll pop into the GP on monday and have a word.

I’ve definitely got into the mindset that it’s just a cyst now. I’ve been doing some reading (I know I said I wouldn’t!!) and it’s pretty smooth and what I can feel is quite regular shaped.

Only thing is my boobs are aching now :frowning: Only because I’m due on next week and the left one probably more so because I’ve been prodding it so much! oops!

Oh well, I’m off to work now. Wish the post came before I left for work, but never mind!

Cat xx

Just need to have a moan…

I contacted the GP as I haven’t heard anything from the breast clinic and I still believe I should have been offerend an urgent appointment as per NICE guidelines. Apparently they wont be doing anything to help along my appointment as there has been no change and he still thinks that there is nothing wrong. Lovely. I’m well aware that it is probably just a cyst and nothing more, but I would like to get this over and done with as I just want to get on with life. While I’ve got this nagging in the back of my mind I can’t relax properly. Just having an appointment date would be a big help, at least it would be something to focus on.

I’m now also worried that the breast clinic will take the same line as my GP (too young to have cancer etc) and not give me a full evaluation, like missing out the FNA or biopsy. If they do that, I still won’t be able to relax.

Also my ‘lump’ seems to be a bit odd today, I can still just about feel it (still the same size), but it’s harder to find, I’m guessing that this is because I am due on so maybe my normal breast tissue is hiding it a bit? I don’t know. If anyone examined my breast now they’d probably think I’m making it up. But as I still have an inverted nipple it still needs checking out.

It’s all getting to me a bit now, it’s a mixture of this, some work related issues and some home related problems, I just feel like I can’t cope with it all that well. I’ve also mad my epilepsy medication put up and this makes me very tired for a couple of weeks while I adjust to the side effects, I’ve suddenly started going to bed early just to escape everything. ARGH!!!

I have an appoinmtment with my usual GP next week so I’ll vent my frustrations to her (she’s pretty understanding) maybe she can help with the whole situation.

I actually feel a bit better now I’ve got all that out!

Cat xx

Hi Cat,

I can well understand your frustration. I spent 2 days on the phone back and forward to the breast clinic trying to get someone to take me seriously that I needed an urgent appointment.

Eventually though when I did get an appointment they were very thorough and everything happened very quickly. The staff at the clinics are experts and won’t dismiss you because they can’t find a lump. They know there are other signs that cannot be ignored and that not all cancers appear as lumps either. Like some of the other ladies on here I have a rare aggressive form of cancer which presents initially as a swollen breast and doesn’t have the usual lump people expect. (My GP had dismissed it as an infection which is why I had to plead for an urgent appointment) The consultant recognised it straight off.

If you can go to an appointment at short notice why not phone the clinic secretary and ask if you can be fitted in to a cancellation. Your GP surgery should be able to give you the phone number or the hospital switchboard can put you through.

Good luck, Jan xx