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The colour of the nipples and areolas (the outer areas of the nipples looking like a circle) is normally darker than your skin colour. It may be pink or red for some women, while many have dark or brown nipples. Again, areolas may also be the same in colour. The nipples, or areolas, often turn darker with sexual excitement. But in some cases, when nipples turn darker to black, it can be because of certain things like breastfeeding, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, hair around nipples, etc.
Noticing dark nipples suddenly may feel alarming at first, but don’t hit the panic button! To understand what are the exact causes of dark nipples, we got in touch with Dr Swati Gaikwad, consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Pune.
She explains the various causes behind having dark nipples.
The size, colour, and texture of nipples change drastically during pregnancy. Dr Gaikwad shares with HealthShots, “When you are pregnant, the body gets prepared for the birth of the baby, Hence, estrogen and progesterone are produced more to help your boobs produce milk for your baby. There are some changes in the nipple due to these hormones, and the nipples can become dark.”
In some cases, however, a change in the appearance or texture of the nipples can be a sign of medical problems such as breast cancer. “It causes a lot of changes in the boobs like lumps along with dark nipples,” says Dr Gaikwad.
This is another cause of dark nipples. When you are breastfeeding, your breasts may change colour but dark colour can also be due to hormonal fluctuations that are necessary for milk production.
As you can probably guess this is all about hormonal fluctuation as well. Dr Gaikwad says, “Estrogen levels rise during puberty, and your breast grows owing to hormone fluctuations. At that point, you are likely to see darker and more prominent nipples.”
“Though it prevents unwanted pregnancy, it can also affect the body. When estrogen and progesterone levels go up, nipple changes can be seen, ” says Dr Gaikwad.
Did you know? Estrogen and progesterone levels go up while you are on your period. Dr Gaikwad says, “These hormone fluctuations can lead to darker nipples, and even breast soreness.”
You will be surprised to know that some may have darker hair around the nipples that can make your nipples appear black.
Along with darker nipples, if there is redness, lumps, swelling, watery discharge, and tenderness of the breast, consult a doctor immediately.