Why Do Some People Have Puffy Nipples? An Investigation

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Why Do People Have Puffy Nipples?
Self, Health And Wellness

Puffy nipples are one of those physical features that people seem to either love or hate. For some people, seeing them is an easy way to get turned on. For others, they’re a strange feature that might even be a mark of embarrassment. (Hint: Don’t be embarrassed. Nipples of all kinds are awesome!)

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, puffy nipples are a pretty common (yes, normal!) trait in both men and women. You might even have them, yourself. They aren’t really a sign of something wrong in most cases, but rather, a simple sign that your body is unique — as all of ours are.

What causes puffy nipples? Well, if you have nipples that jut out a little extra, you shouldn’t freak out. Noticing a change in the “puff” of your nipples isn’t usually a sign that you’re sick or that you’re going to die. It just means that you’re built a bit different up top.

RELATED: There Are Only 8 Types Of Nipples In The World — Which Do YOU Have?

Even though they aren’t necessarily a warning sign of poor health, most people who have puffy nipples tend to wonder what causes them. This is doubly true if you just recently noticed that your nipples have started to get a little bit puffy as of late.

Like many body quirks, puffy nipples aren’t always hereditary nor are they always something that are predictable. If you’re like me, you might be a bit curious to find out what causes puffy nipples. After all these years, I decided to find out.

First off, let’s talk about what puffy nipples are.

What are puffy nipples, anyway? Are they nipples that somehow carry more fluid, or is there something else going on? Here’s the truth behind what having puffy nipples means for the structure of your chest.

If you’re wondering if that puffiness is due to water retention, you might be a little misguided. Puffy nipples are nipples that have a little bit of excess tissue in the areola region. In some cases, nipples can get puffy due to a lack of muscle tone in the chest area as well, but that’s highly unlikely.

Some people are just naturally born with them, though it’s a bit rare. Like many other traits we have, one of the most common causes of puffy nipples is genetics. Most people who are genetically predisposed towards having them will start to notice their nipples getting a bit puffy by the time they hit puberty, with some people noticing it a bit later during their teen years.

Having puffy areolas are also a sign of hormonal changes in both men and women.

Another major reason why people tend to get puffy nipples is due to hormonal fluctuations. Women, for example, tend to get puffy nipples during pregnancy or as a part of their monthly visit from Aunt Flo. If you’re a girl who gets swollen, puffy nipples right before your period, don’t worry, you’re not alone in that respect.

RELATED: 9 'Weird' Things About Your Nipples That Are Actually Totally Normal

Men, on the other hand, may have puffy nipples as a sign of lower levels of testosterone in their system. In fact, many men who suffer from gynecomastia first notice that extra breast growth happening when their nipples get puffier.

Due to the way that hormones tend to shift as we age, it’s not unusual to see puffy nipples happen during puberty or during a person’s later years. That being said, most people who have a little puffiness going on will only have it as they transition from one hormonal stage to another.

Oddly enough, one of the causes of puffy nipples can be medication or drug use.

As common as hormonal changes are, it seemed a bit odd that most people just assume that all puffy nipples were caused by just two things. So, I decided to poke around a bit to find out what else could potentially cause puffy nipples in people.

Shockingly, I found out that there was a third reason why people could end up with this trait. I asked Dr. Douglas Steinbrech, one of New York City’s most popular plastic surgeons, about other causes of puffy nipples.

He explained, “Puffy nipples can be caused by multiple reasons. Hormone imbalance during puberty, anabolic steroids, certain medications. Marijuana use can also increase the chance of having puffy nipples.”

What surprised me the most about this investigation was learning how many people were embarrassed by them! While I was researching the causes of puffy nipples, I saw a multitude of forum posts discussing how embarrassed people were for having them and how they were considering getting plastic surgery for it. (And yes, there are plastic surgery procedures that correct the excess tissue found in nipples.)

Even so, if you have puffy nipples, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about having them. According to Dr. Steinbrech, around 12 percent of all men and women have this kind of nipple, and trust me, many people out there will find them attractive.

RELATED: What You Need To Know Before Getting Your Nipples Pierced

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a health and lifestyle writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. You can follow her @bluntandwitty on Twitter.