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Do nipples lose sensitivity with age

As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, and it’s natural to wonder how these changes might affect different parts of our bodies, including our nipples. One common question that arises is whether nipples lose sensitivity with age. In this article, we will explore this topic in-depth and provide you with valuable insights and information. So, let’s delve into the fascinating world of nipple sensitivity and aging.

Fiona Green (not patient’s real name) always felt something was missing from her sex life. The 50-something was never able to experience sensation in her nipples, which left her feeling self-conscious about her body.

“I have always had inverted nipples, and for years felt that the sensitivity was lacking,” says Green.“My breasts were never an erogenous zone for me, so I figured something must be different than most other women. It’s an awkward and uncomfortable situation when your partner believes that area should be a natural element of foreplay. Yet for me, it wasn’t – ever. It simply didn’t arouse me.”

The loss of sensitivity in nipples can be caused by a number of reasons, says Dr. Elizabeth Lourens, director of the Age Management Institute in Calgary. She notes the main sensitivity-stealing culprits include breast surgery involving the nipples (breast lift, augmentation or reduction), menopause and aging.

Until recently, there hasn’t been a procedure to restore nipple sensitivity. However, Selphyl is now changing the lives of many women – including Green – and, yes, men. Selphyl allows natural tissue regeneration using a body’s own ability to rejuvenate. It allows physicians to isolate some of a patient’s own platelets and fibrin from their blood and, re-inject them in a particular site.

To restore nipple sensitivity, blood is drawn from the patient’s arm just like at a lab. It is then centrifuged to remove the red and white blood cells. The plasma is then injected into the nipples. “The platelet-rich plasma causes growth of collagen, resulting in the restoration and repair of volume and texture in the tissue,” says Lourens.

In addition to improving sensitivity and arousal, the treatment can also help lift inverted nipples, soften scar tissue from breast surgery and improve the nipple’s colour and texture. The procedure, which takes approximately 25 minutes, starts with the application of a topical cream to numb the area before the injection.

For optimal results, the treatment should be repeated after four to six weeks to give collagen an extra boost. “With any platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment, one starts seeing results after about six weeks, but there are immediate positive effects, also,” says Lourens.

For Green, one of those positive affects is increased self-confidence. “It’s interesting when you’re this far into your life and you’re only now experiencing what you’ve read and heard about for years,” she says. “It has made me more self-aware in general and a bit more confident during intimacy.”

Cost of the treatment ranges from $700 for one treatment to $1,200 for the recommended two treatments. Results typically last between 18 months to two years.

People on blood thinners and strong anti-inflammatories are not candidates, says Lourens adding, “certain medications and some supplements may need to be discontinued a week prior to the treatment and a week following.

How does aging affect the breasts?

mature female friends enjoying ice cream
Changes in the shape and texture of a person’s breasts are a natural part of aging.

Over time, estrogen levels drop, which leads to a loss of gland tissue in the breast. Along with changes in skin elasticity, this may cause the breasts to appear smaller and lower down than before. The nipples may also change in appearance.

Possible breast changes that may occur as a result of aging include:

  • stretch marks or wrinkles appearing on the breast skin
  • the breasts looking elongated, stretched, or flattened
  • extra space between the breasts

Changes to the breasts can occur due to:

Low estrogen levels

As females get older, their bodies start to produce less of the reproductive hormone estrogen than before. Estrogen stimulates the growth of breast tissue, while low levels of this hormone cause the mammary glands to shrink. Fat may fill the new space, making the breasts appear softer and less full.

Low estrogen levels can also cause connective tissue in the breast to lose its elasticity and become dehydrated.

These changes can cause the breasts to appear smaller, and they may seem to sag.

Other symptoms of low estrogen include:

  • irregular or absent periods
  • hot flashes
  • night sweats
  • breast tenderness
  • headaches
  • changes in mood
  • fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • bone loss

During menopause, the body’s levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease significantly.

According to the Office on Women’s HealthTrusted Source, females officially reach menopause when they do not have a menstrual period for at least 12 continuous months. In the United States, the average age for menopause is 52 years.

Skin changes

Over time, the skin starts to become thinner, lose fat, and develop wrinkles and age spots. In the same way, the breasts start to lose fat, and the tissues lose elasticity. As a result, they appear smaller and lower down.

Growths in the breast tissue

The chances of developing growths in the breast, such as fibroids, cysts, and tumors, increases with age. In most cases, these lumps are noncancerous, and most females have themTrusted Source. However, it is important to get a doctor to check any new lumps.

Noncancerous lumps can include the following:

  • Fibroids are benign growths consisting of fibrous connective tissue.
  • Cysts are round, tender lumps that contain fluid. A complex cyst can contain both solid and liquid components.
  • Ductal or lobular hyperplasia occurs when the cells that line the milk ducts grow excessively.
  • Fibroadenomas refer to benign tumors comprising glandular and connective tissue. According to the American Cancer SocietyTrusted Source, fibroadenomas most often affect females in their 20s and 30s.
  • Intraductal papillomas are benign tumors that grow inside the milk ducts. They often cause bloody discharge from the nipples.
  • Adenosis causes enlarged lobules in the breast. These sometimes contain calcium deposits, which can make them resemble cancer on a mammogram.

What happens to your nipples when you get older?

As we age, our bodies go through a natural aging process that can affect various aspects of our physical health, including our nipples. It’s important to note that the changes in nipple sensitivity that occur with age can vary from person to person. Here are some common changes that can happen to your nipples as you get older:

One of the most noticeable changes that can occur is a decrease in nipple sensitivity. This can make it more difficult to experience the same level of pleasure or sensitivity during intimate moments or other activities that involve nipple stimulation. With age, the skin around the nipples may undergo changes. It can become thinner, looser, or develop wrinkles. The areolas, the darker pigmented area surrounding the nipples, may also enlarge or change in color. These changes are a natural part of the aging process and vary from person to person. The shape of the nipples can also change as you get older. Some individuals may notice that their nipples become more inverted or flat over time. These changes can be attributed to factors such as decreased elasticity of the tissues and the effects of gravity.

7 Breast Changes to Watch for as You Age

Aside from breast cancer, our chief concern about aging breasts was sagging. Just how long would it be before our boobs drooped so low they’d graze our waistband? Though some things are within our control — despite the fact that 80 percent of women still wear the wrong size bra — when it comes to breast changes with age, our cup runneth over.

Many of the changes are because of falling estrogen after 40.

The Usual Suspects

We expect changes in breast firmness and fullness due to pregnancy and weight gain (or loss), but it was news that estrogen was the culprit for drooping. Estrogen helps keep mammary glands and connective tissues plump and hydrated. Without it, breasts lose volume and skin becomes less elastic. Even when fat fills in the volume vacancy (keep reading), breasts are soft rather than firm.

And regardless of size, with age comes an increased risk of abnormal growths. Lumps are common around the time of menopause, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Thanks to decades of activism and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, we are aware of the importance of being committed to self-exams and annual mammograms. The good news is that most breast lumps are nothing to worry about.

Fat Migration and Redistribution

When writer Andrea Warren feels lumps in her armpits in an episode of her hilarious Netflix sitcom, I’m Sorry, we crossed our arms and pushed our fingers into our own armpits to feel around. Warren sees her doctor about what turns out to be something called “accessory axillary breast tissue” — or what she deems “extra boobs.” In 2 to 5 percent of women, breast tissue migrates to locations other than the breast (how bizarre!). Doctors recommend having it surgically removed.

But accessory axillary breast tissue is just one example of age-related shape shifting. Weight gain and fat redistribution are others. As estrogen declines, weight once carried in the hips, thighs, and buttocks can gravitate to the abdomen among other areas. What’s more, breasts go through “involution,” which is when milk-producing glands shut down and breast tissue is replaced by fat.

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Beyond gaining a cup size and seeing armpit fat, or “sleevage” as Dr. Pamela Peeke calls it, you may see an increase in back fat and fat along your ribcage, below the breasts.

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That’s one factor that may cause many women to experience an increase in cup size. Research has shown that one in five women grow two or more cup sizes around the time of menopause, though “the most important factor associated with such an increase was found to be weight gain.” Beyond gaining a cup size and seeing armpit fat, or “sleevage” as Dr. Pamela Peeke calls it, you may see an increase in back fat and fat along your ribcage, below the breasts.

With diet and exercise you can control some fat redistribution and weight gain, according to trainer and nutritionist Lauren Simmons. She recommends tracking macronutrients to ensure you get enough protein (20-30 percent of your overall calories), carbohydrates (50 percent), and healthy fats (20 percent), with the overall goal of taking in fewer calories than you expend. When good nutrition is coupled with strength training, which not only increases muscle mass but enhances metabolism, you can fight age-related fat.

Simmons is a proponent of squats, lunges, the chest press, and rows — as they all use large muscle groups — to burn the most calories and build muscle. And she reminds us that spot reduction is a myth — that you cannot reduce fat in just one area at a time. So working the chest (with pullups, chinups, and cable pulldowns) and back (with bench press, chest fly, pushups, and shoulder press) can help build muscle and reduce body fat overall, but it will not eliminate underarm fat or back fat specifically.

breasts in a pink bra

Crepey Skin and Nipple Changes

If you’ve started to notice a crepey décolletage, you can thank the age-related breakdown of collagen. According to breast plastic surgeon Dr. Alexes Hazen, sunscreen is essential protection for breasts. “If some breast skin is exposed, it will age just like any other skin on your body that is exposed to sun.”

Less sensitivity to touch is also a factor as you age. “Sensations you feel around the nipple and areola come from nerves inside the chest. If you have small breasts, the distance to the nerves is really short, so you may have more sensitivity. As they grow or droop over time, though, that nerve gets stretched out and the sensation may lessen,” says Hazen. You might also notice that your areola (the area around the nipple) shrinks. In some women, it might nearly disappear.

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