I remember the first time I’d bloody nipples while running.
It was a few years ago. After getting home after a long run on a hot day and walking into the living room, my sister was horrified by my blood-soaked t-shirt. Once I looked down, I gasped. After I took off my shirt, I realized that my both my nipples were gushing blood.
I was so freaked out by the scene, and worried that something was wrong with me.
Fast forward a few google searches, I learned that it was nothing to worry about. Once I applied some of the measures, bloody nipples became a thing of the past. In fact, I learned that avoiding the bloody condition is no rocket science.
If you’re looking for some practical ways to help prevent bloody nipples while running, then this post is perfect for you.
How Do Bloody Nipple While Running Happen?
Known as a fissure of the nipple, and colloquially called joggers nipple, this condition is a pretty common occurrence among male runners.
When you’re running, blood flow increases throughout your body, coming closer to the surface of your skin. When this happens, most people’s nipples begin to harden.
Once your nipples get hard and thanks to friction, they start to continuously rub against the fabric of your shirt. After a while, the direct effects of rubbing against clothing, sweat, and salt results in the condition.
The condition starts as a stinging or burning sensation as the skin gets rubbed raw, and can lead to bleeding when continued. From that point, you’ll experience a nasty cutting sensation on every additional step.
Joggers nipple is more common in extremely hot or wet and cold weather and affects primarily male runners. Female runners tend not to encounter any issue with bloody nipples while running if their sports bra is properly fitted and supportive.
How To Treat & Prevent Bloody Nipples While Running
Thankfully, dear (mostly male) readers, preventing nipple bleeding while running is easy. Like, seriously, it’s super simple.
Here’s what you need to do
If you want to prevent chafing disasters—not the just the nipples’—start lubing. This what helped me the most with nipple chafing.
How does lubrication work is no work of mystery. Lubing serves as a protective barrier between the nipple and the shirt, reducing undue friction. It also softens the nipples and keeps them from drying, which in turn cuts the risk of irritation.
As a rule, generously apply a lubricant, like Body Glide or petroleum jelly, to the nipple area, before heading out for a run. Also, make sure to apply on areas prone to chafing, such as the underarms, thighs, etc.
Just make sure to apply it liberally, especially when running for a while. In some cases, especially during long runs, carry a small packet of it with you in case the constant running and sweating wear away the lubricant.
2. Get the Right T-Shirt
Quite often, preventing bloody nipples is a simple matter of opting for the right clothing.
Here’s what I mean.
If your running T-shirt is either made of and has cotton in it, then you’re asking for chafed nipples. Cotton is your nipples worse nightmare.
Instead of cotton shirt and bras, go for synthetic materials, such as Coolmax, Dri-Fit, or Polypropylene, especially on the layer closest to your skin. These fabrics will help wick moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry quickly and limiting friction.
What’s more? Clothing made from technical fabrics also dries faster than cotton, which is key because wet skin can make chafing worse.
If it’s appropriate, you can also consider running shirtless if it’s possible—this should put an end to your upper body chaffing issues.
For female runners, a proper-fitting bra that limits breast movement helps prevent jogger’s nipple, according to my research and the testimony of some of my female friends.
3. Use a Product
Some of my running friends use a product like Nipguards to protect their nipples. I’ve never used them. All I know is that they work and can cost like $10 for ten sets and that can get expensive.
Nipguard, as the name implies, is a popular product designed to protect the nipples from the chafing of rubbing against upper body clothing. That, in theory, should prevent the condition.
According to the product official website, nip guards are exceptionally sticky, adhering directly to the nipple and staying on even during long training.
In case you cannot afford Nip guards, then simply cover your nipples with Band-Aid or tape. This is something I did many times, and it worked just fine.
Keep in mind that these may not stick well when sweating profusely, so you may have to experiment with a few options before you find what works the best for you.
How To Treat Bloody Nipples
As in all cases, treatment of bloody nipples depends on the severity of your injury.
Here’s what you should do in general.
First, rinse off the chafed nipples with lukewarm water and dry them thoroughly. I’d recommend you do this in the shower so you don’t have to apply pressure with a facecloth or something else that may exacerbate your pain. You can also try cleaning the wound with hydrogen peroxide.
To avoid further irritation, apply A&D ointment or Neosporin, cover your nipple with sterile gauze, then use athletic tape to attach it to your chest. This can help prevent infection while your nipples heal.
Err on the side of caution and take a couple of days off running to give your nipples time to heal and recover from the chafing.
If your condition persists, and your nipples are still swollen, crusted, or bleeding, seek medical help.
In some cases, you might need a prescription-strength antibiotic ointment if the area is infected. An underlying condition can also be the source of your trouble. These include eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, fungal infection, or allergic reaction.
Although bloody nipples are pretty common among runners of all fitness abilities, there’s no need to let the condition get in the way of your running routine.
The preventatives measures shared here, along with a bit of forethought, can help you tremendously so you can keep running strong as you want to be.
Keep in mind that you may need to test out a few approaches or mix them before you find what works the best for you. No suit fits all, after all.
In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.
Feel free to leave your comments or question in the section below.