Jogger’s Nipple Is a Real Condition — Here’s How to Cure It
The solution is simpler than it seems.
Most women who’ve worked out with regularity have experienced it as some point in their lives: jogger’s nipple. It’s the chafing, cracking, and bleeding that results from friction between the nipple and clothing — usually a bra; and despite its pedestrian name, it can be very painful. While the friction that causes it can be sparked by any skin-to-fabric interaction, it’s most common among women who exercise frequently in necessarily tight-fitting sports bras — hence the jogger’s nipple name.
So what can be done about it? Short of forfeiting your exercise program, relief can seem elusive. But there are solutions. Below, our First for Women consulting physician offers advice to a reader who wrote in asking for help with jogger’s nipple. Here’s the remedy the doctor recommends.
Q: I’ve been joining my friend on her daily power walks and it’s really helping me shed my muffin top. But now my nipples are sore and there’s blood in my sports bra. Help!
Congratulations on your workout routine! It sounds like you’ve developed jogger’s nipple, a common condition triggered by friction from a bra or other clothing against the nipple that causes chafing, cracking, and even bleeding. Healing can take up to a week, so consider low-impact exercise like biking or yoga for now.
In the meantime, use gentle cleansers and apply an antibiotic ointment three times daily to soothe skin and ward off infection. When you resume walking, apply a thin layer of Vaseline to your nipples beforehand (cleaning off afterward so your skin can breathe), or try an anti-chafing balm like Body Glide (Buy from Target, $7.99). Also, wear a high-impact sports bra to minimize friction from bouncing, and opt for seamless cups to prevent recurrences.
Meet our expert
Barbara DePree, MD, is a gynecologist in private practice and director of Women’s Midlife Services at Michigan’s Holland Hospital. A Certified Menopause Practitioner, she is the founder of MiddlesexMD.com, an educational resource for women’s sexual health in perimenopause and beyond. To ask her a question, send an email to email@example.com.
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This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.