The best part about human anatomy is the unique characteristics that make every individual different from others. Every woman has a combination of characteristics that makes her unique in some way. Among the more defining features of women are breasts; which have a clear functional role in addition to adding to the overall beauty of the female body. However, many women and men wrongly assume that the size of the nipples has some kind of effect on the health or other attributes of the female. It is time to closely look at popular misconceptions and look at the facts to debunk myths that commonly do the rounds about women with big nipples. Let’s start by looking at the functions of the nipples. 

A fact sheet to understand more about women with big nipples

To begin with it, it is important to understand that nipples and areola are different. The nipple actually refers to the center portion of your breast, while the areola is the dark portion that surrounds the nipple. Most individuals refer to the two interchangeably. The nipple is linked to the mammary glands and is that part that facilitates suckling. 

The average size of the areola 

Areola size differs and depends on multiple reasons. However, the average size of the areola is generally considered to be around 4 centimeters in diameter. Similarly, the comparative parameters are interesting – the average areola is thrice the size of the nipple that it surrounds, while the breast is thrice the size of the areola. These are the typical average sizes, but the sizes differ considerably.

Types of nipples

There are basically four categories of nipple types – flat, inverted, multiple/divided and protruding. There are many unusual facts associated with nipples, which proves that women with big nipples are no different from women with nipples that are regular in size. A woman can have two types of nipples on each breast, and she can also have two nipples on each breast. The inverted nipple is no different from the protruding nipple in functions and facilitates suckling by popping out during breastfeeding.

What has the genetics to do with women with big nipples

Genetics is the primary reason for the size, shape, and color of the pigmentation of the nipples and the areola. Therefore, women with big nipples can attribute it to an inherited characteristic, which can be corrected, if required through surgical procedures. However, regardless of the size, it is important to know that apart from the appearance, there is no major difference in functionality. 

Comprising tissue and fiber, areolas have an impact on the nipples when responding to stimuli. For instance, the nipples turn erect when women are aroused physically, at the time of suckling and when it is exposed to cold temperatures. This action of turning erect is made possible by the areola which contracts and relaxes as per the stimuli. Lactating mothers will find that the color of the areolas changes, resulting in sharp contrast in the color of the nipples and the areola. This is a natural process, which helps infants identify the nipples for suckling.

Do women with big nipples experience changes in the size of areolas at various stages? 

The size of the areola is not constant and changes over time. The areola and nipple first begin to grow during puberty when the secretion of estrogen commences. The darkening of the areolas is high at this stage, and the size of the breasts begins to swell from its earlier size, the areola size appears to be small. Effectively, there is no shrinking of the areola, it is only a comparative appearance. 

Women with big nipples are likely to experience further growth in the size of the nipples during pregnancy. During this stage, the size and the color of the areola undergo significant changes, expanding and darkening at the same time, along with the increase in the size of the breasts. The Montgomery tubercles are glands that secrete fluids responsible for lubrication of the skin, and as a natural indicator for infants who suckle. The Montgomery tubercles are connected to the areola, and the stimulation of the nipple along with the surrounding areola by sucking action triggers a sequence of actions that aid in milk production. 

Impact of weight gain and pregnancy on women with big nipples

There is a definitive and measurable impact on the size of the breasts during weight gain and pregnancy. Once the production of milk is stopped, the size of the breasts typically returns to its normal size. However, it is important to note that this change of size to normalcy is not necessarily the case always, there could be a slight increase in size even after the termination of milk production. However, in the case of the areolas, the return to size is not as proportionate as the breasts. There is a very strong possibility of the areolas retaining their size, despite a reduction in the size of the breasts. This is one of the reasons why many women with big nipples experience this condition after a gain in weight.

The actual impact of the size of nipples and areola on functionalities and health

There is a clear and unanimous opinion from medical experts that the size of the areola and nipples have no adverse impact whatsoever on its functionality and the health of the individual. Therefore, women with big nipples can rest assured that it is absolutely not necessary to go in for any kind of areola augmentation from a medical perspective. There are multiple procedures and options available in the market that permit individuals to change the size of the nipples and areola, in addition to lightening the color of the skin pigmentation. 

The cosmetic changes that are often used by individuals will have an impact on the appearance of the nipples but will not have any effect on the functionality. Similarly, the protrusions on the rim or border of the pigmentation, where the areola touches the skin of the breasts, are actually hair follicles. This can be removed through any hair removal techniques typically used by the individual. It is important to remember that the area is sensitive and hence a certain amount of caution needs to the exercised while removing hair. The method can be the same, but care needs to be exercised.

Areola as an indicator of health in women with big nipples

One of the reasons why many individuals wrongly assume that women with big nipples suffer from some kind of disorder or disease is because of the link between areola and health. The context is entirely different and has got a lot to do with irregularities in areolas that are indicative of bad health. 

Lumps in the areola

It is common for women to experience the formation of lumps in the areola when stimulated or when exposed to chilly climates. However, this is purely temporary and should subside naturally when the conditions end. For instance, the lumps should go away when you stop feeling aroused or when the cold conditions end. In the event that the lumps persist, it is indicative of possible ductal carcinoma. This could also be indicative of a minor infection. This can only be confirmed by a biopsy.

Pigmentation coloration outside pregnancy and lactation

The color of the areolas will considerably differ during pregnancy and during lactation. However, this generally returns to the pre-pregnancy or pre-lactation color. In the event that the color of the areola changes when the person is not pregnant, it could be an indication of a possible rare form of cancer. Common indications that one needs to look out for include a thickening of the pigmentation, a perceptible difference in the texture of the pigmentation and inflammation. Areolas that are inflamed considerably to appear almost orange in color need a proper medical examination to ascertain the cause.

Sore/tender areolas

It is perfectly normal for women with big nipples to experience soft/tender areolas at some point in time. However, this is always a temporary condition and should not last long. This could be due to one of many reasons, including excessive pressure during some form of stimulation. In the event that the areola remains sore and/or tender for a long time, it is necessary to opt for a proper check-up.  

These are the common symptomatic conditions that are often confused with the size of the nipples and ill-health among women with big nipples. Some of the common symptoms that one needs to look out for includes the following : 

The formation of a single lump on the areola

A single lump on the areola could be indicative of a cyst that is benign, or it could also be indicative of a cancerous tumor. This can only be ruled out by a detailed screening which will prove if it is normal breast tissue or growth that is a cause for concern. 

Excessive growth of hair on the areola

Growth of hair on the areola is common and can be dealt with normally. However excessive hair growth is indicative of higher testosterone levels. This could be the result of genetics or it could also be the result of exposure to testosterone cream or gel. Patients diagnosed with PCOS typically have higher testosterone levels that are generally accompanied by other symptoms. 

Flaky skin and itching 

One of the rarest forms of breast-related cancer is Paget disease, also known as nipple carcinoma. Symptoms commonly associated with the condition include flaky skin and itchy sensation. The color of the nipple changes considerably in addition to a possible discharge from the nipple. This requires urgent medical attention, as it suggests a very strong possibility of a serious condition.

Discharge of blood from the nipples

It is possible that you are experiencing the discharge of blood from the nipples. This condition could be indicative of papilloma which is essentially noncancerous tumor. This means that the milk ducts have grown beyond the normal sign and this is certainly not very healthy. It is all the more complicated in nature if the condition is experienced in only one breast.

Indentation in the nipples

Any kind of visible indentation in the breast or nipple requires urgent medical attention and this includes women with big nipples. Indentations or the formation of dimpling on the areola or breasts could actually be indicative of the growth of cancer beneath. It is, therefore, necessary to undergo comprehensive screening to rule out cancer or to start treatment as early as possible.

What is normal in women with big nipples and others?

There are many conditions that are actually normal among all women, including women with big nipples. Rather than getting apprehensive of perfectly normal conditions, it is important to be aware of conditions that do not warrant any medical attention.

For instance, if the color your nipples are changing, and if it happens when you are aroused, or if you are either pregnant or lactating, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Similarly, if the size of your nipples or areolas seems to be huge, there is nothing to worry about. It could be because you have either put on weight or because you are pregnant/lactating. If, after pregnancy/lactating period, your breast size has reduced, but your areola size has not reduced, it is again not a cause for worry, this is perfectly normal.

Nipple augmentation and its impact on women with big nipples

Many women presently undergo nipple augmentation and breast resizing. It is important to understand that the outcomes may or may not be as desired. The number of women who have experienced some kind of negative effects post-surgical procedures is on the higher side, which does not make it the best option, despite its growing popularity. Surgical procedures as a result of medical conditions are unavoidable, but procedures performed without a compelling need, are not advisable. Women with big nipples have certainly nothing to fear regarding the size of the nipples or the areola. Cause for concern arises only when certain other symptomatic conditions are visible or experienced.

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