It’s normal for women who are planning a pregnancy to look for early signs of pregnancy. If you research these signs online, Montgomery tubercles is one of the first things on the list. Are these really a sign that you’re pregnant, or could they be caused by something else entirely? Before that question can be answered, it’s important to first explain what Montgomery tubercles are.
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What Are Montgomery Tubercles?
The Areolar glands, also known as Montgomery’s glands, are sebaceous glands in the areola. The main job of Montgomery’s glands is to produce oily secretions (similar to the sebaceous glands on your scalp) to keep the areola and nipple protected and lubricated.
Montgomery tubercles are one of these glands, and they’re responsible for keeping the breast lubricated during breast-feeding. These tiny glands that surround the nipple not only keep the breast lubricated, but protect against infection to help keep the baby healthy.
Montgomery tubercles appear on the surface of the skin as tiny bumps. They may appear on the areola and the nipple itself.
These bumps become more apparent when the nipple is stimulated. They also become more prominent during pregnancy.
The number of glands a woman has can range between four and 28.
Is Montgomery Tubercles An Early Sign of Pregnancy?
Montgomery tubercles can be a sign of early pregnancy (what other signs are?). Many women state that the appearance of these bumps was one of the first signs that they noticed when they learned they were pregnant. Some women notice Montgomery tubercles before their missed period, while others experience them later on in the pregnancy.
You may also notice a darkening of the areolas along with Montgomery tubercles. These changes start occurring as the breasts start preparing to produce milk in the first few weeks of pregnancy. As you progress through the pregnancy, your areolas will also become larger.
Other early signs of pregnancy include:
- Missed period: This is one of the first noticeable signs of pregnancy. The rising hormone levels in your body prevent your uterine lining from shedding, which causes you to miss your period.
- Tender, swollen breasts: As the levels of progesterone and estrogen in your body rise during the first few weeks of pregnancy, some women experience tender, painful or swollen breasts. Breast tenderness typically appears a few days after conception.
- Fatigue: Your body builds your baby’s placenta during the first few weeks of pregnancy. The placenta is what will provide your baby with nourishment throughout your pregnancy. It takes a great deal of energy to build the placenta. This coupled with rising hormone levels can lead to extreme fatigue. After the first trimester, the fatigue becomes less severe.
- Food cravings: A shift in hormones can also cause food cravings, which are most prominent during the first trimester.
- Bleeding: Half of women who experience normal pregnancies also experience spotting (bleeding) that’s brown or pink in color. While many women will carry out normal, healthy pregnancies despite this spotting, bleeding can also be a sign of a miscarriage.
- Frequent urination: Pressure from the growing uterus and an increase in water weight gain will cause you to take more trips to the bathroom.
- Morning sickness: An enhanced sense of small, the stretching of the uterine muscles and excess acid in the stomach can all cause morning sickness, which is a common early sign of pregnancy.
If you are experiencing Montgomery tubercles along with other signs of early pregnancy, consider taking a home pregnancy test and seeing your doctor right away. If you are pregnant, it is important to begin prenatal care as soon as possible.
What Else Can Cause Montgomery Tubercles?
While Montgomery tubercles is a very early symptom of pregnancy, bumps on the areola can also be caused by other things.
In some cases, Montgomery tubercles can be caused by:
- A hormonal imbalance
- Physical changes
It is important to remember that these glands are a normal part of your breast, and will always be there. They may become more pronounced at times for one of the reasons above, or for no reason at all. The appearance of Montgomery tubercles is not a sure sign of pregnancy, but if these bumps appear out of nowhere and you are experiencing other pregnancy symptoms, there is a good chance that you are pregnant.
If Montgomery tubercles are more prominent and you’re experiencing discharge from these glands, see your primary care physician immediately. One study has shown that discharge from these glands may be an early sign of breast cancer.