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What Does It Mean If You Have Large Areolas?

by | Health & Wellness

Jun 9, 2023

A woman’s breast is deeply fascinating to men and even to the woman herself. A lot of women are so fascinated by their breasts that they seek to know everything about it, from why the breasts are shaped a certain way to why their areolas seem large. I am guessing you’ve stopped by this article with questions about your areolar. I will answer the question: “What does it mean if you have large areolas?”

Let’s begin with the basic anatomy of the breast. 

What are areolas

Your areolas are the pigmented area of skin around your nipples. 

The average diameter of an areola in women is 2.5 inches. Anything more than 3.0 inches can be considered typically large. 

The areolas may easily be overlooked as not being so functional. But the truth is, the areolas perform a small but very important function to help keep the breasts healthy. 

Within the skin of the areolas are small glands called Montgomery glands that produce and secret oils that keep the breasts lubricated. 

These oils protect the nipple from being flaky and dry, hence preventing possible mechanical injuries, which one is prone to getting during breastfeeding. 

There are times when the areola may grow larger in size. Here are some normal situations when this happens.

Read: 10 Reasons Why Men Love Breasts

Normal situations when the areola may grow larger

1. Pregnancy

Pregnancy changes a lot about your body. 

During pregnancy, the body must ensure it creates a safe environment for you and for your baby. 

The baby, of course, has to feed when it is born. The body knows this and so directs the breast to change itself. 

The ducts in the breasts become larger. And the acini begin to produce and secret more breast milk. The breast stroma also grows large as well. 

This presents a global increase in the size of your breasts. Your areolar and your nipples are sometimes not left out.  

If you have just taken in and do notice a change in the size of your areolas, I can almost certainly assure you that it is nothing to be so worried about. 

2. Weight gain

Everything grows bigger when you gain weight—your body, your breasts. 

A lot of women who gain a considerable amount of weight will see an increase in the size of their areolas. 

If the weight gain comes on suddenly, as a result of your areola skin being stretched, the areola may become lighter in complexion. 

This is one of the ways to tell whether or not the change in the size of your areola has something to do with your weight. 

Read: 5 Reasons You May Have Extra Long Nipples

3. Hormonal changes

Hormones direct the normal functions of our bodies. They especially function to direct organs that produce secretions. And the breasts are one of the many that do so. The breast produces milk, and this is directed by many hormones. 

When there happens to be a surge in the level of certain hormones within your body, you should expect to see changes in the shape of your breasts. 

Most of the hormonal changes a woman will experience will come around the time when she approaches menopause. This is why aging is thought to be a factor in determining the size of a woman’s areola, just as genetics is a big determining factor. 

There is a big chance your areola is shaped that way because you were born with large areolas. 

Many women are born this way, and it is completely healthy as it does not hamper your ability to produce breast milk or have any children. 

4. Breastfeeding

Since the areolar is skin, it is able to stretch. This means the constant suckling of a child on your breast might have a part to play in increasing hour size of your areola. 

The suckling changes the microfilms under the skin of your areolar, and they begin to stretch as a response. This stretching is a form of adaption to stress. 

All our body tissues have developed ways to deal with stress.  

Abnormal conditions when the areolas grow larger

1. Malignancies

A malignancy is a neoplasm that is able to spread through body tissues. The word neoplasm is formed from two words: “neo,” which means new. And “plasm,” which means growth. 

All malignancies are new growths that can spread to other tissues. They are typically cancerous. 

One may notice an increase in the size of their nipples when they start to develop cancerous growths. But it is unlikely this is the case for you if you do not notice any masses in your breasts alongside the increase in your areolar size.  

Read: What Men Think About Women With Small Boobs

2. Infections like Periareola Abscesses

These are very painful swellings just underneath the areolar that happen when certain strains of bacteria colonize that area. 

Usually, the abscesses are purulent. That is to say that they contain pus. 

Many women who come down with this infection happen to be breastfeeding mothers. During breastfeeding, your breast tissue becomes a little more porous than it has always been, and this makes it easy for pathogenic bacteria to find their way into the breast tissue. 

3. Trauma

Trauma to the breast is able to change the shape of the breast and the underlying structures. 

So, if you have just hit your breasts, this may be the reason your areolas have become so big. 

What to do if you have big Areolas?

A change in your areola size can be disturbing. What really is there to do?

1. Don’t freak out

I know it’s a natural instinct to freak out when faced with the realization that your areolas are large. But don’t. 

What’s the use anyway? Chances are, there is nothing wrong, and you are completely fine. 

2. Perform a breast exam

A breast exam is pretty easy to perform. I will be walking you through the steps in subsequent articles. 

The purpose of this exam is to rule out the possibility that there is a pathology behind your areola size. 

Read: 10 Reasons Why Men Pull Away

3. Conduct a history check

Ask yourself some vital questions. Do you remember your areolas being so large? Do you have any relatives whose breasts are large?

The history, in addition to the physical exam, will help you rule out pathology. 

4. See a doctor


Your areolar can be large because it’s normally that way. Or it may be a response to underlying pathology. 

By Emilie Schleif

Emilie Schleif is a Lifestyle Writer at Whatsdalatest, where she covers all things relationships and wellness—born and raised in La Canada Flintridge. She currently lives in Hamburg and loves running, hiking, and walking with her dog, Jasper.

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