A third nipple is also known as a supernumerary nipple, in medical terms. It is a common occurrence that happens in all mammals, including humans. Many supernumerary nipples are mistaken for moles or other skin conditions and often aren’t recognized as what they really are. A third nipple can occur in both men and women and are generally classified into 8 different categories based on how developed they happen to be.
Statistics on Third Nipples
1. The number of men who have a third nipple in the general population: 1 in 100.
2. The number of women who have a third nipple in the general population: 1 in 50.
3. 27.2 million. That’s the number of Americans who are believed to have an extra nipple somewhere on their body.
4. Extra nipples can develop while a child is still an embryo.
5. Extra nipples, if they are connected with mammary glands, may be able to produce breast milk after pregnancy.
6. Sometimes a third nipple is an inherited family trait.
7. A famous James Bond villain named Scaramanga had a third nipple, which caused scientists to name the gene that produces proteins to signal embryonic cells to become breast tissue after the character.
8. The presence of extra nipples is sometimes linked to heart defects and kidney disease.
9. In about 10 percent of fetuses, an extra nipple or two may develop, and they can be accompanied by more breast tissue than normal.
10. Third nipples are not currently associated with any known increased risk of breast cancer.
11. The symptoms of breast cancer can be seen in supernumerary nipples with equal risks to other “normal” breast tissues.
12. There are no specific guidelines for taking care of extra nipples.
13. Around 1 in 18 people in the UK may have a third nipple.
14. It is a fact that no two nipples look alike, which means that someone with three nipples with have three potentially very different looking nipples.
15. There are genetic factors which control the size of a person’s nipple.
16. There are 4 different types of nipples that can make up the third nipple: flat, puffy, inverted, and average.
17. A third nipple will naturally secrete oils that help to fight bacteria.
18. As many as 10% of people in the US are estimated to have an extra nipple.
There are two basic classifications of a supernumerary nipple that are considered today. The first, which is called polythelia, refers to the presence of a third nipple but itself. Although these third nipples can appear anywhere on the body, including on the foot, they are most often seen along the milk lines – and yes, that even applies to men. A more rarer third nipple condition, called polymastia, involves the presence of an additional mammary gland as well.
People have viewed the third nipple over the centuries in a wide variety of ways. During the Roman Empire, a woman who had a third nipple was considered to have an enhanced level of femininity about her and would be highly prized as a wife. In the days of Salem, however, women who had a third nipple were considered to be witches with the extra nipple being used as evidence witchcraft. Why? Because the third nipple was the device that the devil used to suckle himself.
We’ve come a long way in terms of understanding why some people have a third nipple. As the statistics will show, it isn’t a serious medical condition and many people with one simply live with it or have it removed in an outpatient procedure.
Myths Vs. Facts
Contrary to many myths, a third nipple is not going to put you at an increased risk of breast cancer. Although the third nipple may actually function to deliver milk in some people and may have breast tissues associated with it, it is genetics, the exposure to HPV, and other lifestyle factors that have higher risks of breast cancer development. There is no proven link.
The issue of the third nipple is that it can cause a lot of self-esteem issues in those who have them. If the nipples are large enough to be recognized, then it can cause people to become embarrassed to go swimming, take a bath, or be anywhere in public where they might need to disrobe. Although it is a fairly common condition, it isn’t considered a “normal” condition by most of today’s societies, and so that shakes a person’s confidence.
Although there isn’t any evidence that a woman is more feminine just because they have an extra nipple, it is that kind of attitude that we should have today when it comes to viewing individuals with this condition. It is a feature of the human body that should be celebrated. So many changes that happen from a baseline normal are so harmful to human health, but the extra nipple isn’t one of those issues. We should be grateful for good health, the chance to pursue a fulfilling life, and not feel so ashamed that an extra nipple needs to be hidden.
For those who are concerned about their third nipple, it is easy enough to have one removed. The procedure is similar to a mole removal if the nipple isn’t connected to a milk line. Even if it is functional as mammary tissue, however, a simple breast removal surgery can help to restore someone’s self-esteem.
Many celebrities have a third nipple. Lily Allen even flashed her third nipple on television once. It isn’t something to be ashamed about. A third nipple is a part of who you are. If you have a birthmark or a circular shaped mole somewhere around your milk lines, then you may just be the proud owner of a third nipple. Treat that third nipple with love, check it as you would any other breast tissue, and wear it with pride.