How can I stop my nipples from getting bigger?

The area around my nipples seems to have gotten bigger over the past few years. I did have 2 kids, both of which I breast fed. Are they just stretching out with age and with weight gain/loss, or is it possible something else is causing this? What can I do to try to make it stop?


F, 34, Virginia

Tags:nipples nipples too large breast feeding children weight loss weight gain

Without an in-person examination it's not possible for me to give you any medical advice, but the short answer to your question is, no, it's not possible to stop your nipples from growing bigger.

It's very common to experience areola or nipple enlargement over time. It's also common for the areolas to stretch and adopt slightly different shapes over time as well. The shape of areolae can become elongated, distorted and oval. Non-circular areolas are quite common in women with larger breasts and those who have had children.

As breasts change and get larger with age, pregnancy or weight gain, areolas can also become domed or raised as the underlying breast tissue forces the areolar tissue outwards.

It's also possible to develop abnormalities in areola color and texture. Some women will see color changes or irregular color variations ranging from pinks to brown colors appear over time. Other women may notice their Montgomery glands growing larger or more visible. (Montgomery glands are a type of sebaceous gland which look like tiny bumps in the areola area).

For many women these changes occur relatively rapidly during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. The first signs of early pregnancy are often larger areola bumps and changes in the shape of the nipple area caused by rising levels of progesterone and other hormonal changes. For other women, changes to areola size occurs gradually, over the the course of years, as the natural elasticity of the skin breaks down.

Regardless of how or why the areola changes in any specific case, the only way to reduce areola size or projection of the nipples is with cosmetic surgery. While it’s possible to achieve larger nipples without surgery, the only way to reduce their size is by surgically removing excess tissue.

During a circumareolar mastopexy (areola reduction surgery), excess tissue is removed from the periphery of the areolas. In some cases this surgery may also raise the position of the nipples to a slightly higher position on the breasts. During a reduction surgery, the length or diameter of the nipples is surgically adjusted for a more aesthetic, youthful appearance.

If the size of your areola is something you're interested in correcting, I suggest you schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss reduction surgery. The procedure is very simple and usually performed under a local anesthetic.

Yes, it's very normal to get larger areolas over time.

The areola surrounding each nipple tends to expand with age and with increased breast size.

The extent to which nipple size changes depends on many factors, including weight gain or loss, hormonal factors, and your personal genetics. Having children and breastfeeding can also contribute to these changes in size, but for many women large areolas are just a normal part of getting older.

To answer your second question, no, there isn't any way to stop areola size from getting larger. The only way to reduce large nipples or large areolas is through surgery.

Good candidates for areola reduction surgery are women with areolas that are wide, irregularly shaped, or have different sizes. The surgery is also effective for treating areolas that have irregular darker skin tones which can occur during pregnancy.

One important caveat to be aware of is that any surgery involving the nipple areolar complex carries a very small risk of disrupting the breast ducts which supply milk to the nipple from the mammary glands. It's important to be aware of this potential risk if you are considering having more children. I generally recommend that patients complete their families before considering any cosmetic surgery that has a chance (however small) of disrupting milk lines and negatively impacting breastfeeding.

Another risk to be aware of is a potential loss of nipple sensitivity. While not a serious health risk, for some women the very real possibility of losing of an important erogenous zone is a deal breaker. Or course, this isn’t necessarily a given, the extent of the potential impact to nipple sensitivity varies depending on the specifics of the surgery and the patient.

Many women have nipple reduction surgery in conjunction with a breast lift, reduction, or augmentation. If you’ve been considering additional breast surgery it may make sense to have a discussion with your plastic surgeon about combining these procedures.

Nipple and areola reduction surgeries are simple, low risk procedures that generally spawn dramatic improvement on the aesthetic appearance of the breasts. If you have big nipples or your areola size is bothering you, I encourage you to consult with a local board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss which surgical options make the most sense for you.

For most women, common pregnancy symptoms include breast tenderness, bigger breasts and changes in the size and color of their areolae. These changes are the result of altered hormone levels and greater blood flow as the size of the mammary glands and milk ducts increase in preparation for breastfeeding.

As you know, after giving birth and breastfeeding your children, those changes to your breasts don’t necessarily reverse themselves -- breasts don't exactly bounce back to their former selves. Those pregnancy-related breast changes are often there to stay.

Even for women who never had children, their areola size alters over time. Significant weight gain/loss along with age-related hormonal and skin elasticity differences all contribute to the breast and nipple changes women experience.

Unfortunately, there's no simple way to slow down these changes. The only option available to restore the previous look of your breasts is through cosmetic surgery.

The good news is that areola reduction surgery is a quick, simple procedure usually performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The recovery time is fast and the procedure often results in dramatic aesthetic improvements.

If you're interested in areola reduction surgery I suggest consulting with an experienced plastic surgeon to discuss which aesthetic choices make the most sense in your case. It's important to find a breast surgeon who has ASPS board certification (or an equally reputable professional association) and a solid history of excellent results. I advise you to do your research carefully.

Nipple size is a common source of personal dissatisfaction and poor self-image. From your question it sounds like you're asking about enlarged areola -- the pigmented skin around your nipples -- and not nipple projection.

Changes in areola size often occur as a natural part the aging process — but also commonly following pregnancy and general weight gain. As you said, you have 2 children already, so it's very normal to have larger areolas.

If your larger nipples are bothering you, I suggest you schedule an initial consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon who has a proven track record of satisfied patients. There are simple cosmetic surgery solutions for correcting both large nipples and areolas.

That's a good question. Nipple shape strongly affects the proportions of the breasts -- and issues like puffy or big nipples can negatively impact overall aesthetic appearance.

The ideal size of the areola is often said to be between 4 and 5 centimeters, but the relative proportion to the overall breast size and shape should be taken into aesthetic consideration as well.

To answer your question: Yes, it's normal to experience a certain amount of growth in the nipple-areolar complex with age, weight gain and childbirth. Genetics also plays a big role, as aging and childbirth affect all women differently.

Unfortunately, there isn't any way to "make it stop". While you may see multiple online sources describing home remedies and “natural ways" to reduce the size of your nipples, these are not scientifically supported. (No, vitamin B and green leafy vegetables won't magically make your nipples smaller -- despite what many websites claim).

After childbirth many women consider breast augmentation, breast reduction or nipple reduction surgery to return their breasts to their normal size and shape.

Each of these procedures is straightforward and low risk. I encourage you to schedule a consultation to discuss which options are available. When considering any plastic surgery, always remember to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon for best results.