Women are taught that they should pay attention to any change that they notice in their breasts. If you have noticed nipple bumps, there is a chance that you may be panicking. While nipple bumps seem as though they may be a sign of an abnormal condition, they generally are not a reason to become alarmed. Here are some of the things that you should know about nipple bumps and when you should worry.
Nipple Bumps and Their Function
Nipple bumps are medically known as areola glands or Montgomery glands. They are small bumps which are located on the areolas and nipples. The purpose of these glands is to provide the breasts with lubrication. Nipple bumps tend to become raised when the nipples are stimulated. Note that everyone has nipple bumps and, most of the time, they are absolutely normal. A general rule of thumb is that if they have been there since your breasts have fully developed, it is likely that there is nothing to be concerned about.
When to Worry About Nipple Bumps
While nipple bumps are generally nothing to worry about, there are times when they can indicate some type of health problem. If it seems as though the nipples have increased in number or size, it may be a reason to worry. If the nipple or areola skin feels rough or scaly (like orange peel), there is a chance that inflammatory breast cancer or eczema could be to blame. Nipple bumps which appear red, inflamed, itch or hurt should also be given attention to. Even if they are not caused by a serious condition, there is a chance that your Montgomery gland may be infected.
Nipple Bumps Can Be Affected by Hormones
It is important to keep in mind that hormones can affect Montgomery glands. If you experience a change in hormones, you may notice an increase in size, firmness or the number of nipple bumps that you have. Women who are pregnant generally notice these changes. If nipple bumps are accompanied by breast tenderness and darkening of the areolas, they may be a sign of pregnancy. Going on a new birth control pill can also cause changes to nipple bumps.
Note that the information contained in this article is not meant to replace the advice or diagnosis of a doctor. If you think that the nipple bumps that you are experiencing seem unusual or something to worry about, it is ideal to visit your OB/GYN. While there is a good chance that your nipple bumps are completely normal and not a reason to worry, it is best to confirm this or get an early diagnosis if something more serious like cancer is to blame.
OBGYN.net, “Breast Care FAQ – Breast Pain, Itching, Lumps, Bumps and Discharge.”