6 Little-Known Facts About Nipples
Nipples are more interesting than one would think.
Your nipples are perfect.
No two nipples are alike. That means that the two nipples on your body may not be a mirror image of each other. This is normal. The larger outer ring is your areola. For some women, the areola is light pink. For others, it can be darker and range from red to brown. For some women the areola becomes darker when they’re sexually excited. As a result, some cultures have even been known to paint their nipples to darken them in the hope of inspiring passion in their mates.
Within the areola there can be little bumps. These bumps are the product of your Montgomery glands. These glands produce a protective, white, oily lubricant for the skin. This is also normal. Don’t squeeze those little bumps; they are there for a reason and opening them up can cause infection.
Females can grow hairs around their nipples. Our entire bodies are covered in fine, often almost invisible hair and sometimes a woman will have darker hairs that look almost like little eye lashes on the outer edge of the areola. These little hairs are more proof that you are normal.
There are two features that are unique to mammals: our hair and our milk producing breasts. The scientific term for having nipples is mammillated. Each nipple has about 15 to 20 tiny openings. Some connect to milk ducts and some to the Montgomery glands I mentioned. The little whitish bumps you're seeing let you know where some of these openings are.
Other animals, like goats and cows, have one reservoir called an udder. The milk discharges through an opening in the udder called a teat. Still more curious is the platypus. A platypus does not have nipples or teats. Her milk is secreted out of two round patches of skin on her belly. Weird, huh?
Erect nipples always draw our attention, although it is a misconception that erect nipples are an indication that a woman is sexually aroused. (In other words, just because she’s got erect nipples doesn’t necessarily mean she’s raring to go!) Nipples become erect for many reasons, some of which are not sexual in nature, like if you are cold, or if they get sensation from your clothing rubbing on them. And sometimes a woman’s nipples may not be erect even when she is sexually excited.
Innie vs. Outie.
Inverted nipples are fairly common. Anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of all women have them. An inverted nipple is caused by shorter-than-usual milk-bearing ducts in the breast. Those ducts are attached to the nipple and, in these cases, prevent the nipple itself from projecting. So the nipple may lie flat or even push in a little rather than projecting out. Inverted nipples don’t pose any health risk, although they may be an obstacle to new mothers as they breast-feed.
The easiest way to check whether your nipples are inverted is to gently pinch behind one, around the edges of the areola. If the nipple protrudes, it is not inverted. If your nipple is inverted it will actually retract into the breast. If you have inverted nipples and are interested in correcting it, there are solutions. Gently rolling the nipple may do the trick. For pregnant women who need to correct inverted nipples for breastfeeding, check out a maternity shop for disks that attach to the nipples and are designed to be worn inside a bra. This simple device gently stretches the tissue and encourages the nipple to stand outward.
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