Nipple Piercing

Drug Levels and Effects:

Summary of Use during Lactation:

Although controlled studies have not been performed, piercing of the nipples seems to not interfere with lactation in most cases,[1][2] although poor latching, and milk leakage from the infant's mouth have been reported.[3] Some breast jewelry may pierce the areola as well as the nipple. Reversible hyperprolactinemia and galactorrhea has occurred in two individuals who developed infections of the nipple and mastitis. A theoretical concern is aspiration of the nipple jewelry by the nursing infant and injury of the infant's mouth andgums. Although these complications apparently have not been reported, nipple jewelry should be removed before nursing.[3][4][5]

Effects in Breastfed Infants:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Possible Effects on Lactation:

Nipple piercing has caused mastitis in nursing and nonnursing women and at least one man.[3][5][6][7] In some of these patients, hyperprolactinemia and galactorrhea resulted. After removal of the jewelry and treatment of mastitis, hyperprolactinemia and galactorrhea subsided.[6][7] However, in a study of 11 individuals who had pierced nipples for an average of 4 years (range 2.5 to 12 years) without mastitis, serum prolactin values were in the normal range.[8] Nipple piercing has also been associated with decreased lactation in nursing mothers caused by duct obstruction[1] and milk leakage through the piercing tract.[3]


1. Garbin CP, Deacon JP, Rowan MK et al. Association of nipple piercing with abnormal milk production and breastfeeding. JAMA. 2009;301:2550-1. PMID:19549971
2. Armstrong ML, Caliendo C, Roberts AE. Pregnancy, lactation and nipple piercings. AWHONN Lifelines. 2006;3:212-7. PMID:16792708
3. Holbrook J, Minocha J, Laumann A. Body piercing: complications and prevention of health risks. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2012;13:1-17. PMID:22175301
4. Kluger N. Body art and pregnancy. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010;153:3-7. PMID:20557995
5. Martin J. Is nipple piercing compatible with breastfeeding? J Hum Lact. 2004;20:319-21. PMID:15296586
6. Modest GA, Fangman JJ. Nipple piercing and hyperprolactinemia. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:1626-7. PMID:12432057
7. Demirtas Y, Sariguney Y, Cukurluoglu O et al. Nipple piercing: it is wiser to avoid in patients with hyperprolactinemia. Dermatol Surg. 2004;30:1184. PMID:15274719
8. Sun GE, Pantalone KM, Gupta M et al. Is chronic nipple piercing associated with hyperprolactinemia? Pituitary. 2012. PMID:22965248

Substance Identification:

Substance Name:

Nipple Piercing

Drug Class:

  • Body Modification, Non-Therapeutic

  • Administrative Information:

    LactMed Record Number:


    Last Revision Date:

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