Are Your Nipples Normal?

Posted: 1328 days ago in Health Wellness

nipples

Truth is, that’s a trick question because there is no “normal” when it comes to healthy nipples.

Officially, the nipple of your breast is the nub that sticks out (or in the case of inverted nipples, sticks in).  The nipple is in the center of the colored part of your breast, called the areola.  Since it’s fairly common to refer to the entire areola/nipple combo as the nipple, we’ll do that, too.

ThinkstockPhotos-98972703So, back to what’s “normal.”

There are almost no two nipples that are alike (if you don’t believe me, check out this nipple gallery), so let’s get into what makes our nipples so different.

Nipple Color
Nipples come in various shades of tan, pink and red, and usually deepen to brown once a woman becomes pregnant.

Nipple Size
Nipples can range from the size of a quarter to – and I swear this is true because I saw it – the size of a saucer. That was a bit of a shock. The actual pokey part, the ‘official nipple’, can be as small as a lentil, or as big as (gulp) an olive. A large olive. Yup, I’ve seen that one, too.

Small Bumps on the Areola
The little white bumps that you see on and around the nipple are not pimples! They’re called Montgomery’s glands, and they produce lubrication. Please don’t squeeze them!

Hair Around the Nipples
You might see some fine or even wild hairs on your nips – I swear, they grow overnight. Feel free to trim or pluck, but please, no bleach, wax, or lasers, as the skin is just too sensitive.

Height of the Nipple
Some nipples are erect all the time, and some only tighten when they get cold, stimulated by clothing, or with arousal. For some women, nipples are a major erogenous zone, and others can take them or leave them.

“Triple Nipple”
Some of us have a third or even fourth nipple. Guys are more inclined to (1 in 18!), but about 1 in 50 women have “supernumerary” nipples.

Nipple Abnormalities
Now, you do need to know that many breast cancers begin just beneath the nipple, so if you notice any changes from YOUR normal, please see your doctor as soon as possible.  These changes may include:

  • Any fluid at all coming from a non-lactating nipple
  • Scaly or crusty skin not associated with breastfeeding
  • A nipple that suddenly becomes inverted, or looks in any way different from the other breast
  • Pain, or a change in a nipple’s normal sensitivity

Breast Exams!
You should check your headlights at least monthly as part of your regular full breast exam (you are doing that, aren’t you???). But why not check them daily as you bathe or shove those puppies in a bra? Knowing what’s normal for you will make it that much easier to detect if or when something becomes abnormal.

Don’t be a Douche

Posted: 1511 days ago in Health Pregnancy Sex & Relationships Wellness

dont-be-a-douche

I’m not referring to that rude guy that makes sexist comments to you at work every day (though yes, he does qualify as a douche bag). I’m talking about douching, as in vaginal hygiene.

Don’t be a douche bag, and don’t use one, either. Not to clean shop after your period, or after sex, and never, ever to try to prevent pregnancy. That doesn’t work AT ALL.

I’m not sure how many of you use douching as part of your feminine hygiene, but based on the shelf space that is dedicated to it in my local grocery store and pharmacy — plenty of you are.

Here’s why you shouldn’t douche: Your vagina does a great job of cleaning herself!

Yup, she’s a self-sufficient kinda gal, and her discharge is nature’s way of keeping bad stuff out… like how your nose will run or eyes will tear when something irritates them.

Normal discharge should be clear-to-milky white-ish, and have no odor other than what is normal for you. If you’re ovulating, your discharge will change slightly and become a white stretchy consistency. But – a clumpy yellow-green or white odoriferous discharge, accompanied by itching or burning indicates a problem that should be checked by your doctor or midwife ASAP, okay?

Douching washes away the protective and cleansing fluids that are supposed to be in your vagina. Regular use of douches can irritate the lining of the vagina and lead to yeast infections and pelvic inflammatory disease. Even worse, douching can cause serious complications in pregnancy, and an increased risk of cervical cancer.

Uh – no thank you!

I think many women get hung up on the smell thing, am I right?  You never want your man to know you smell like anything other than lavender, orange zest, and daisies.

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Well, I hate to break it to you, but the truth is, healthy vaginas have a distinct scent to them, and that’s just the way it is. Power-washing with vinegar, antiseptics and fragrances will not make it go away for more than a few moments, and does far more harm than good.

Here are some take-aways to live by when caring for your lady parts:

  1. Get to know what is normal for you
  2. Practice regular, daily hygiene
  3. Wash with mild, unscented soaps (on the outside parts only, please!)
  4. Wear breathable panties (cotton is typically best for this)  

That’s it. That’s all your girl needs to stay happy and healthy.