The bumps on the areola are known as 'Montgomery glands.'

The bumps on the areola are known as ‘Montgomery glands'.

The bumps on the areola are known as ‘Montgomery glands’. Montgomery glands are not visible until you are aroused or pregnant. During pregnancy, as breasts increase in size for breastfeeding, the Montgomery glands also swell. They look like small bumps or pimples on the nipple or areola.

The number of visible bumps on the areola differs in each woman. Each areola can have zero to 40 tubercles, with an average number of about 10 to 15 on each side. There are more Montgomery glands in the upper and outer part of the areola.

If you notice soreness, redness, inflammation, or bloody discharge coming from this area, immediately contact your physician.

What do Montgomery glands do?

The Montgomery gland is a combination of milk glands and sebaceous glands. The main functions of the Montgomery glands include:

  • Lubrication of nipple-areolar complex by gland secretions
  • They emit a peculiar smell that helps the newborn to find the nipple and encourage the baby to latch on and breastfeed immediately after birth.

Studies have claimed a direct relationship between the latching and the number of Montgomery glands. The more the number of Montgomery glands, the fastest the baby latches on to breastfeed. Higher Montgomery glands are associated with enhanced newborn growth.

What are some common nipple problems?

Nipple problems are usually noncancerous and mainly related to lactation. Some of the common noncancerous nipple disorders include:

  • Ectasia: It is a noncancerous condition characterized by the dilation of mammary glands or milk glands. If ectasia blocks the gland, it can lead to pooling of the fluid and further causing infection, inflammation, or a pus-filled infection (periductal mastitis).
  • Intraductal papilloma: It is a small, hard lump that protrudes near the nipple. It leads to bloody or sticky discharge.
  • Abnormal nipple discharge: Nipple discharge along with a lump may be of concern to the physician. The various types of abnormal discharge include:
  • Galactorrhea: A milky discharge from both the nipples when the woman is not breastfeeding.
  • Benign noncancer breast condition

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How to care for the bumps on your nipples?

As the Montgomery glands provide a natural moisturizer to your nipples, there is no need to use moisturizers to moisturize your nipple. Try these tips to care for your nipples:

  • Do not pop the pimples
  • Do not use acne medication to treat the bumps
  • Avoid harsh soaps that can wash away the protective substance secreted by the Montgomery gland
  • If you are worried about your glands or nipples, ask your doctor to examine your breasts
  • Do your monthly breast self-examination

While breastfeeding, you should follow these tips to care for your breasts:

  • Wash your hands before touching your breasts
  • Avoid using soap on your breast
  • Wear a supportive bra that fits fine but is not too tight
  • Change your breasts pads often when they become wet
  • Apply some of your breast milk on your nipples and areola, then let them air dry

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Medically Reviewed on 12/11/2020
References
John Hopkins Medicine. Nipple Problems and Discharge. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/nipple-problems-and-discharge

Center for Young Women's Health. Are Bumps on the Nipple Normal? Can They Be Removed in Any Way? What If They Secrete a Substance Sometimes? April 10, 2015. https://youngwomenshealth.org/2015/04/10/are-bumps-on-the-nipple-normal/