Areola - Definition
Areola usually refers to the circular, darker region around the human nipple.
It is also known as:
It is present in both males and females.
Areola - Location
It is the region surrounding the nipple in both male and female bodies.
Areola - Size and Shape
The size of this structure varies greatly from one man or woman to another. The average male areola is about 2 inches and up to 4 inches or more in diameter in women. The size of areola is larger in women, especially during maternity and lactation. In some women, the areola can continue to be large even after the stoppage of lactation.
The shape of the areola is larger in sexually mature women, as compared to prepubescent girls and men.
Areola - Color
The skin on the area is furrowed and darker in appearance. The color of areola is usually reddish brown, and comes from two polymers. The pheomelanin is the red pigment while the eumelanin is the brown pigment.
In women, the differing color of the areola from the rest of the body makes the nipple visible to infants who require breast-milk for nourishment.
The color of the areola may change over time due to hormonal changes resulting from menstruation, ageing and as a response to some medications. During pregnancy, the color may get considerably darker.
Areola - Functions
In the female body, the areola marks the region where the mammary gland ducts are situated. These ducts secrete milk during lactation. Additional glands, known as glands of Montgomery, arise as small bumps on the skin of nipple and secrete oils that lubricate breasts at the time of nursing.
Areola - Disorders and Conditions
The areola may suffer the following conditions:
Areola - Pictures
The following images show how the areola looks like and where it is located.
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