A nipple whose tip is pulled inward or folded on itself. It differs from an inverted nipple in that it will not come out when stimulated. Causes include aging, ductal ectasia, or breast cancer. Any change in nipple position, esp. if accompanied by discharge or change in surrounding skin, should be reported to a health care provider.
A retracted nipple, unlike an inverted nipple, will not come back out when stimulated. Nipple retraction may be caused by aging, duct ectasia, or breast cancer. See your doctor if you notice nipple retraction, especially if only one nipple is affected.
Two methods which are now discouraged are breast shells and the Hoffman technique. Breast shells may be used to apply gentle constant pressure to the areola to try to break any adhesions under the skin that are preventing the nipple from being drawn out. The shells are worn inside the bra. The Hoffman technique is a nipple-stretching exercise that may help loosen the adhesions at the base of the nipple when performed several times a day. Although both techniques are heavily promoted, a 1992 study found that not only do shells and the Hoffman technique not promote more successful breastfeeding, but they may also actually disrupt it.