Health And Wellness

What It Means If You Have Long Nipples

Photo: Caroline Blackburn / Shutterstock
lemons that look like long nipples

For most cis-women, there's never a point in time when you aren't worrying about your breasts.

When you're a kid, you're wondering when you're finally going to get them, and then when they inevitability do arrive, you spend god knows how much of your life fretting over them: they are either too small or too big, or the nipples are too hairy, or the nipples aren't the right color.

If there's something we can find wrong with our breasts we'll do it — that and a whole lot more! But when it comes to long nipples, that's an entirely different ballpark altogether.

This is a shame for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it sucks whenever anything gets in the way of keeping us from loving our bodies with our whole heart. Secondly, having breasts is a tremendous gift and represents everything the cis-female body can do. That's pretty special.

That's why it sucks to high heaven when people are taught that their breasts are "wrong" in any way.

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Women with long nipples have definitely experienced this feeling firsthand. After all, when you're shown only one type of "ideal" breast and "ideal" nipple on TV, you're bound to develop a complex.

The fact of the matter is that there's nothing wrong with your long nipples.

If you're curious about what having long nipples means, there are three important things for you to know.

1. Your nipples are normal.

This is so important that I almost just skipped writing an introduction to start off the post this way: your nipples are fine! Much in the way that every single snowflake that falls from the sky is different, so are your nipples.

Nipples come in a wonderful and varied array of color, size, texture, and much, much more. In fact, the only thing that can be guaranteed about your nipples is that they are going to be a little bit different from the nipples of the woman next to you. But please don't ask her because that's rude.

While the average woman's nipple is described as being the same height as a ladybug (try getting that image out of your head, I dare you), there is no hard and fast rule about how long a woman's nipple can actually be. So suck it, ladybugs!

2. Some women are simply born with long nipples.

Well, I should say some women just find out after going through puberty that their nipples are going to be a little longer than the average girl's. And I repeat, that is totally fine and normal!

Just as fine and normal as it is to have, say, inverted nipples. A totally normal, healthy thing.

There are certain things that can make your nipples longer, and both are a result, partly, of oxytocin. When a woman is breastfeeding, her nipples are going to get longer. This is, in part, is because when she is nursing her kiddo, it releases a gush of the feel-good chemical oxytocin into the brain.

One of the many things this neurochemical does is cause your nipples to become erect due to increased blood flow in the area (this also happens when you're turned on from some good nipple-based foreplay).

When your nipples are erect, they look longer. After you've left an aroused state, it's more than likely that your nipples will return to their usual length. However, in breastfeeding, that's not always the case.

That's because, in addition to oxytocin hardening and lengthening nipples, you've also got, you know, a living child constantly sucking at the nipple. This is bound to change the shape and length of your nipples, but it's still also totally normal.

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3. Always be vigilant for any abnormalities.

While breasts can look all kinds of different ways and be no cause for alarm, there are a couple of things that you should always be mindful of when it comes to the health of your breasts (long nipple-having or not).

First and foremost, you should always, always, always conduct a monthly breast examination. You can do it in the shower.

If you don't know how to check for lumps or other abnormalities on your own, ask your doctor.

In addition to your monthly breast exam, you should watch your breasts for major changes, and I'm not talking about hormonal soreness that comes every month.

If you are experiencing any sort of nipple discharge at all, or if you feel new pain or lumps, you should absolutely contact your doctor.

While it might seem scary, most of the time it's just a check to be on the safe side. When it comes to your breast health, it's definitely better to be safe than sorry.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a freelance writer and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.