All About Nipples: The Areola Nipple Complex and Montgomery Glands

Breast Nipples: The Areola Nipple Complex and Montgomery Glands (“ANC”)

Breast Nipples. Most people have at least two (although there are some variations and having 3 isn’t extremely rare).  Read more on Supernumerary nipples below. First, however, let’s talk about Montgomery Glands. These are the little small bumpy-looking bits of the nipple part of your breast area, formally known as the areola or the “ANC,” which stands for Aerola Nipple Complex.

Nipples come in all shapes, colours and sizes.

  • The Aerola Nipple Complex or ANC is usually darker than the surrounding breast skin, even for individuals who have high levels of pigmentation (melanin) in their skin.  
  • In addition to being darker, if you look closely, you’ll likely see small bumps around the edges of your breast nipple.
  • These are called Montgomery glands.

Montgomery Glands on Nipples

Are Bumps on Nipples Normal? What the DOTS on your nipples mean.

Yes, bumps on your nipples are formally called “Mongtomery glands” and are entirely normal. They are usually smallish in nature compared to the overall nipple, and may look like small bumps.

mongtomery-glands

Function of Montgomery Glands or small bumps on the nipple or areola nipple complex (ANC).

These small bumps actually have a function: they secrete innately produced oils that helps to lubricate the areola area of your breasts.  And guess what? They can change over time, becoming larger in size or even different in colour (temporarily or longer) if you get pregnant or are breast feeding an infant.

So if you always wanted to know: “What are those bumps on nipples?” Now you know – they’re Montgomery Glands which are actually functional to lubricate the areola skin.

Supernumerary Nipples: Third Nipples

Extra Nipples: Do you have Three Nipples?

Did you know that many people – including Celebrities – have three nipples?

  • It has been reported that celebrities including Mark Wahlberg, Lily Allen and even Bill Paxton have what some call an extra nipple or third nipple (3 nipples not 2),  but the actually name for the condition is Supernumerary Nipples.
  • Some people even have more than one extra nipple – some may have numerous additional nipples.
  • It’s a small percentage of the population, however, as far as most people can tell.
  • Less than 0.2% of the population have more than 2 nipples.

How long has this condition been described?  Since 1878, formally, by a researcher named Leichtenstern, who estimated 0.2% of the population had Supernumerary Nipples (mostly meaning ‘extra’).

But the condition of having more than two nipples likely occurred long before then.  One can only imagine what sense – or mythology – was made of a third nipple at the time. But we now know that there’s a higher prevalence in some populations than others, leading to a genetic trait theory about why some people have an extra nipple or a third nipple.

three-nipples-extra-nipple


 

The prevalence of extra nipples in different populations isn’t precisely clear.

There could be a lot of genetic or regional variability in cases of supernumerary nipples from what  has been statistically reported.

  • Some studies suggest that a higher rate of having extra nipples on the chest (up to 0.22%) may occur in Hungarian groups.
  • Other researchers indicate the occurrence rate of extra nipples may be as high as above 5% in people who have a Japanese or German heritage.
  • Many studies show men may be more likely to have them than women.
  • Extra nipples may occur more frequently on the left side of the chest/torso area more than on the right side but this can vary from person to person.
  • Further studies to validate these figures would be of great benefit, to validate statistics of extra nipples.
  • Research may eventually reveal what specific genetic code or DNA traits may relate to the existence or occurrence of extra nipples.

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