Efficacy of Low-Level Laser Therapy in Relieving Nipple Pain in Breastfeeding Women: A Triple-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial

Pain Manag Nurs. 2016 Aug;17(4):281-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2016.05.003. Epub 2016 Jun 27.


Pain accruing from nipple lesions caused by inadequate latching by the baby is a common complaint among breastfeeding women and an important obstacle to successful breastfeeding. Nipple pain occurs during the first days after delivery and is considered one of the main causes for early weaning. To investigate the efficacy of low-level laser therapy as a treatment for nipple pain due to breastfeeding. A triple-blind, randomized, clinical study. A university-affiliated hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. Fifty-nine women with nipple lesions at the time of their admission. Thirty women (intervention group) received three sessions of laser therapy (InGaAIP laser, 660 nanometer, 40 milliwatts of power, 5 Joules per square centimeter of energy density for 5 seconds each, total energy = 0.6 Joules) in the region of the nipples at three different points in time (0 hour, 24 hours, and 48 hours after diagnosis of nipple lesion). Twenty-nine women with similar clinical conditions were randomly assigned to the control group. Self-reported pain was recorded before and after laser therapy using a visual analogue scale. The intervention group experienced a decrease of 2.0 centimeters in intensity of pain (p = .016) 24 hours after the first intervention and also presented lower levels of pain compared with the control group. Low-level laser therapy was considered effective for treating nipple lesions in breastfeeding women with pain, providing relief and prolonging exclusive breastfeeding. More clinical trials with different laser dosimetry and parameters are necessary to optimize laser therapy protocols for breastfeeding women.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Diseases / etiology
  • Breast Diseases / radiotherapy*
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Nipples*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Measurement / nursing
  • Pain Threshold
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult