Although third nipples are quite common, people are not always aware of their existence. They can go unnoticed or be mistaken for birthmarks. Although they are usually harmless, extra nipples can sometimes be accompanied by breast tissue, so it is important to monitor them for signs of breast cancer.
Xtra nipples can form in utero and may occur along the milk lines. These lines are on both sides of your body, from the armpit to the groin. This is where breast tissue may potentially appear.
Although third nipples are most common when they occur alone, they can also be associated with other medical conditions. Polythelia is when an additional nipple or nipple occurs by itself. It’s called Polymastia when the third nipple connects to breast tissue (mammary), and glands.
There are six major categories of third nappies. These types can be classified based on their size, shape, or tissue makeup. These types can include:
- Category 1 A third nipple or areola is found with the underlying breast tissue (polymastia).
- Category 2 The third nape doesn’t have an area, but it does have the underlying breast tissue.
- Category 3 An areola and a breast tissue are present but not a nipple.
- Category 4 :Breast tissue exists, but it’s not nipple nor areola.
- Category 5 A nipple or areola can be found with fatty tissue underneath, but not breast tissue.
- Category 6 A nupple is a nipple that does not have an areola (or underlying breast tissue) (polythelia).
Sometimes, people may have more than one-third of their nipple (supernumerary) in some cases. These can vary in type.
What Causes Third Nipples?
The development of the breasts begins early in an embryo’s life, usually around the fourth week. The first signs of mammary gland growth are seen in milk lines around the sixth week. These ridges extend from the armpit to both the groin and the stomach on both sides. These lines will eventually fall away as the breasts develop. This usually happens around week nine.
Sometimes, however, milk lines may persist and be connected to extra breast tissue or extra nipples. Breast milk may be produced by extra nipples connected to breast tissue.
You may be wondering if having one or more extra breast nipples could increase your risk of breast carcinoma. Yes, it is possible. All breast tissue is susceptible to the same diseases as normal breast tissue.
In 2017, a study that involved a sister and a brother with breast cancer, BRCA2 gene mutations suggested that there may be a link between supernumerary and third nipples. BRCA2 mutations have been shown to increase breast cancer risk.
Extra nipples may be affected by a cancer of nipples that is not attached to breast tissue. Extramammary Paget’s disease (EMPD) can also be found in the groin (lower end of milk lines).