Numbness is a loss of feeling — touch, temperature or pain — in a region of your body.
Commonly numbness indicates a problem with nerve function, often caused by nerve injury, pressure on a nerve, or a chemical imbalance in the body interfering with nerve function.
There are a number of explanations of why you might be experiencing numbness in one or both of your breasts.
Has the area of numbness been injured in the past? That physical trauma could have affected nerves leading to the numbness you are feeling now.
Numbness of a breast might be a sign of a ruptured silicone breast implant. Other signs of a ruptured implant might include:
The numb sensation in your breast might be the result of the compression of small nerve fibers in the chest wall or the tissue of the breast.
One way this could happen is by wearing a bra that doesn’t fit properly. This type of nerve compression can also cause a tingling sensation.
Numbness in a very specific area of your breast could be a reaction to a bite from an insect, mite, spider, or tick.
A mastopexy to surgically lift and change the shape of your breasts can result in a loss of sensation. This typically returns within several weeks, however, some loss of feeling could be permanent.
Possible causes of numbness, not limited to only the breast, include:
- abnormal levels of minerals such as calcium, potassium, or sodium
- vitamin deficiency such as a lack of vitamin B12
- shingles (herpes zoster)
- nerve damage from alcohol, tobacco, or lead
- seafood toxins
- congenital conditions that impact nerves
- breast cancer treatment, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and hormone therapy
Not necessarily isolated to the breast, numbness can be caused by a number of medical conditions including:
If you notice an area of numbness, keep an eye on it. If you don’t have an obvious explanation — such as a bug bite — and it doesn’t resolve itself in a couple of days, make an appointment to speak with your doctor.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience other changes to your breasts such as:
If you discover a numb area on a breast, you might have an easy explanation, such as recent surgery in the area or the sign of an insect bite.
On the other hand, you might not be able to easily pinpoint the cause which might be as simple as compression caused by an ill-fitting bra.
Either way, if the numbness persists, talk about it with your doctor to get an explanation for the loss of feeling. Together you can come up with a treatment plan designed to return all, or at least some, sensation to the area.