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10 Reasons Why You Have Hard And Erect Nipples

Hard & erect nipples can be caused due to both sexual & non-sexual reasons. Some are cold weather, infection, pregnancy, ovulation, etc. Click to find more.

4 min read
10 Reasons Why You Have Hard And Erect Nipples

Research has found that nipples have thousands of nerve endings, making them more sensitive than other parts of the body. There are various types of nipples among women. Hence, women often experience hard and erect nipples. Some reasons why nipples get hard are explained as follows:

Hard And Erect Nipples Causes

Allergic reactions cause hard and erect nipples

Sometimes body products may cause an allergic reaction leading to hard and erect nipples. These could be soaps, talcum powders, shower gels, lotions, moisturizers, or creams.

So how can you avoid hard and erect nipples?

  • Check the ingredients before trying any new product. Ensure it doesn't have any compound that your skin is not compatible with.
  • Apply the new product to the small part of the skin before applying it to your nipples. This is to see if it causes any allergic reaction.

Ovulation causes hard and erect nipples

Ovulation happens when the ovary releases a mature egg in the fallopian tube for fertilization. It is a part of the menstrual cycle and occurs on the 14th day. Research suggests that nipples get hard and erect during this time due to hormonal imbalances caused by increased estrogen levels in the body during ovulation.

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Pregnancy causes hard and erect nipples

Studies have found that people notice erect nipples as an early symptom of pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuation is at its peak when a woman is pregnant. The body is changing to support the development of the baby. Breasts become more prominent, and areolas become prominent and darker. They get filled with a thick, yellowish liquid known as colostrum for breastfeeding.

Perimenopause or menopause cause hard and erect nipples

Studies indicate that menopause is the stage where ovulation stops. It happens around the age of 50. With age, ovaries reduce estrogen production, which results in hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance can cause increased breast tenderness. Nipples may become stiff and erect around this time because of women's reproductive hormone secretion changes.

Also read: What are flat nipples?

Post-menstrual syndrome causes hard and erect nipples

Some women experience bloating, tiredness, muscle pain, cramps, high appetite, indigestion, etc. One of these symptoms includes erect and hard nipples after periods. This is known as a post-menstrual syndrome.

Nipple piercings cause hard and erect nipples

Nipple piercings make nipples more sensitive and react to stimuli more quickly. Even a slight touch or fabric rub could cause hard and erect nipples after piercings.

Avoid getting nipple piercings because it may cause bacterial infection. If you want to, get it done from a reputed place under expert supervision.

Breastfeeding causes hard and erect nipples

Research has indicated that sometimes breastfeeding causes breast tissue infection known as Mastitis in the initial childbirth period. Reasons could be clogging of milk ducts or bacteria infection due to chapped nipples. This could lead to permanently hard nipples even after breastfeeding.

  • Wash hands thoroughly before touching breasts
  • Breastfeed your baby frequently
  • Wear comfortable clothes
  • Do not use creams or ointments on nipples

Breast abscess causes hard and erect nipples

If one does not treat Mastitis on time, it forms pus in the nipples. Research recognizes this condition as a Breast Abscess. This is the answer to "How do nipples get hard?" Other reasons for this infection could be nipple piercings, injury, breast implant surgery, cracked nipples, or diabetes. You may experience headaches, nausea, pain, and fever apart from hard and erect nipples in this case.

Consult a doctor if you have any infection symptoms and get it treated on time.

Sexual stimulation causes hard and erect nipples

The nerves of your nipples and genitals are connected to the same part of the brain. Any stimulation to them creates the same effect as to your genitals. This is why nipples get hard when your partner touches them. Research indicates that stiff and erect nipples are one of the signs of sexual arousal.

Cold weather causes hard and erect nipples

Nerves in the nipples are susceptible to cold weather. They create sensations similar to those of goosebumps. This may cause your nipples to get erect and hard when the temperature drops in the winter season.

  • Wear warm clothes
  • Drink hot liquids like tea, coffee, hot chocolate, etc.

Also read: What do healthy nipples look like?


Why are my nipples hard and sore even if I am not pregnant?

Your nipples could be hard and sore because of breast abscess, cold weather, allergic reaction to a beauty or medical product, nipple piercing, or ovulation even when you are not pregnant.

How to make your nipples stand out more?

You can stimulate your nipples by squeezing and pinching them gently to make them stand out more.

Are erect nipples a sign of pregnancy?

Pregnancy does cause hard and erect nipples. In the first trimester, women may experience erect nipples more than usual.


Beltrani VS Beltrani, September 1999; The clinical spectrum of atopic dermatitis- The clinical spectrum of atopic dermatitis - Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (jacionline.org)

Carol Caliendo, Myrna L. Armstrong, and Alden E. Roberts, February 2005; Self-reported characteristics of women and men with intimate body piercings- Self‐reported characteristics of women and men with intimate body piercings - Caliendo - 2005 - Journal of Advanced Nursing - Wiley Online Library

Alessandro Furlan, Gioele La Manno, Moritz Lübke, Martin Häring, Hind Abdo, Hannah Hochgerner, Jussi Kupari, Dmitry Usoskin, Matti S Airaksinen, Guillermo Oliver, Sten Linnarsson, and Patrik Ernfors, August 2016; Visceral motor neuron diversity delineates a cellular basis for nipple- and pilo-erection muscle control- nature.com/neuro/journal/v19/n10/full/nn.4376.html

Roy Levin and Cindy Meston; Nipple/breast stimulation and sexual arousal in young men and women- Redirecting (elsevier.com)

Mayo Clinic Staff, July 2020; Mastitis-

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