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Are My Nipples Normal?
Do you worry- Are my nipples too big, too small? Or are my nipples inverted? Here is a guide to tell if your nipples are normal.

There is a large natural variety in nipples. There are two parts to the nipple area-- the areola, or the darker skin surrounding the nipple, and the actual nipple itself.

The Areola
The size and color of the areola can differ greatly. Areolas can be dark, they can form a distinct ring (so you can see a round area of darker skin around the nipple), or they can be very light and fade out so it is difficult to see the edges. A normal breast can have large or small areolas-- or appear to have no areola at all. Areolas can be big or small, light or dark, all are normal variations.

The Nipple


Normal nipples, and Inverted nipple


The nipple can vary in size and shape. There are generally two "types" of nipple,

normal and inverted. A "normal" nipple will stick out when erect. An inverted nipple will be inward, like an innie belly button. It may look like a hole that goes inward.

Nipples can be large or small. They can stick out a lot or be almost flat. Nipples can be "puffy", where the areola and nipple are puffy and stick outward; or they can be flat. The nipple and areola can also shrivel up and look like a wrinkly mound when cold. Nipples may stick out all the time, or stay flat unless they are stimulated by cold or touch (this is very common in teenagers).

Bumps Around the Nipple
Bumps on the areola, around the nipple, are completely normal. They are called Montgomery glands. Do not pick at or squeeze the glands or they can become infected. Sometimes the glands are barely noticeable, or they can stick out and be noticeable.

Hair on Nipples
Some hair around the nipple is normal. However, if there is excessive hair around a woman's nipple it can be a sign of hirsutism.

Dry Nipples
Dry, flaky skin around the nipple can be normal. If it is excessive or is bothering you, it could be a sign of eczema or "jogger's nipple"-- meaning the nipple is being rubbed by clothing, irritating the skin. Try applying moisturizer, and putting vaseline or tape over the nipple when exercising.

Nipple Discharge
This can be normal, especially in women that have had children in the past. Talk to a doctor if you are worried.

Abnormal Nipples:

  • Discharge with Blood
    This can be a sign of cancer, so see a doctor if you have this.
  • Extra Nipples
    About 1 in 50 people (men and women) have more than two nipples. Extra nipples are usually not formed as well as normal nipples.
  • Excessive Hair
    In women, this can be a sign of Hirsutism, which has many causes.
  • Inverted Nipple
    Inverted nipples are actually fairly common. The nipple goes inward, like an innie belly button. They can cause some problems with nursing so talk to a doctor if you are concerned.
  • Nipple that suddenly becomes inverted
    A normal "outie" nipple that becomes inverted can be a sign of cancer so be sure to see a doctor.
  • Itchy, scaly nipples

External Links:
Pictures of different types of normal nipples
Nipple Problems
Supernumenary (Extra) Nipples

 

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