Montgomery Druesen white liquid when squeezed

What are these white spots on my nipples?

It can be worrying when white spots appear on the nipples and the colored areas that surround them, known as areolas. Fortunately, white spots on the nipples and nipples in most cases are not a cause for concern.

White spots often result from a blocked nipple pore when someone is breastfeeding or as a normal response to changing hormone levels in the body.

In this article, we look at the following possible causes of white spots on the nipples and nipples:

  • Pregnancy and hormonal changes
  • blocked nipple pores and ducts
  • Infections
  • rarer conditions

We also look at symptoms, treatments, prevention, and when to see a doctor.

Pregnancy and hormonal changes

Montgomery's glands are the main white patches revealed by pregnancy and hormonal changes.

Montgomery's glands are present on both the nipple and the surrounding areola. They contain an oily substance that keeps the nipples soft and pliable.

Scientists also believe that the smell of this oily substance encourages young babies to feed and helps them locate the nipple when they start breastfeeding.


A change in the size and number of the Montgomery glands on the nipple and areola is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. This can happen even before morning sickness or other signs of pregnancy.

Montgomery's glands can be filled with a waxy substance. The gland then resembles a pimple with a white or yellowish head. These spots are known as the Montgomery tubercles.

Women don't have to be pregnant or breastfeeding for this to happen. Other female hormone changes can produce the same response.

The causes of female hormonal changes are:

  • the menstrual cycle
  • the birth control pill
  • the menopause
  • another disorder

Treatment and prevention

Montgomery tubercles are harmless and no treatment is needed if these change or increase in number.

These areas should not be crushed or popped as this can cause infection.

People should see a doctor if they are concerned by the appearance of white spots on their nipples or they are not sure why they appeared.

Clogged nipple pores and ducts

Nipple pores are the openings in the nipple passages that lead to the milk chambers in the breast, where the female body stores breast milk.

When someone is breastfeeding, nipple pores and ducts can sometimes be blocked with milk. Symptoms and treatments vary depending on the duration of the blockage.


Blocked pore

When a nipple pore becomes blocked first, a white spot may appear on the nipple. This is also known as a bleb.

Clogged pores can be painful, but suction will usually clear them up during the next time the baby is fed.

Milk bladder

When the skin grows over the opening of the blocked nipple pore, a milk bubble can form. The area around the white spot often starts to get red and inflamed.

Blocked channel

If a nipple pore remains blocked, the milk duct leading out of the milk chamber can also become blocked and inflamed.

A lump and swelling often form under the blocked nipple pore. The pain increases and breastfeeding can become very uncomfortable.

A clogged duct can lead to complications like mastitis and breast abscesses if not treated quickly.


A clogged nipple pore will of course be cleared the next time you feed.

If the nipple pore doesn't come off on its own, the individual can help. These include:

  • Put a warm compress on the breast and nipple in front of a lining
  • Use a cold compress after feeding to reduce discomfort
  • take a warm shower and gently rub the clogged nipple with a towel
  • Massage the breast and nipple, being careful how they squeeze lightly
  • Hand-squeezing milk in front of the lining to soften the breast
  • instructing the infant to feed from the affected breast first
  • Positioning the baby's lower jaw near the lump caused by a blocked canal
  • Pain relief, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to reduce discomfort

If the skin grows over the nipple pore and a milk bubble forms, the above treatments may not always clear the nipple pore. In this case, you should seek advice from a doctor or midwife.

The pore may need to be reopened with a sterile needle to break through the skin. A person doing this should be very careful as they can introduce infection into the nipple and breast.


A few simple steps can help prevent clogged nipple pores and ducts. These include:

  • Make sure each breast is completely emptied during feeding before swapping it for the other breast
  • make sure that the baby rests properly
  • wear a bra that fits properly
  • Avoid underwire bras and tight-fitting straps
  • avoid wearing tight clothing
  • Position seat belts and baby carriers so that they do not restrict the breasts
  • Change the position of the baby on the chest each feed

If clogged pores and ducts persist, people should seek advice from someone who can verify that the baby is properly positioned and locked into place.

A person should seek medical advice if any of the following occurs:

  • her chest becomes red or inflamed
  • You feel uncomfortable
  • They develop a high temperature
  • They worry about the symptoms they are having

Mastitis or an infection may be present in these cases.


Less commonly, infection causes white spots on the nipples. Infections can be due to a fungus, virus, or bacteria.

Although anyone can develop an infection of the nipples, breastfeeding mothers and people with compromised immunity are most at risk.

Nipple infections that can cause white spots include:

  • thrush
  • Herpes
  • subareolar abscesses


Thrush is a fungal infection that most commonly occurs in the vagina. It is also known as a yeast infection. Newborn babies develop mouth thrush and then infect the broken and cracked skin of their mother's nipples while they are breastfeeding.

The symptoms of thrush are a white rash followed by red, sore, and inflamed skin on the nipples.


The herpes simplex virus causes herpes. Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that can pass through the mother from the birth canal to the newborn's mouth and eyes. The newborn can then spread the virus to the mother's breasts.

The symptoms of herpes are fluid-filled blisters that form crusts when they burst.

Subareolar abscesses

Subareolar abscesses are collections of pus in breast tissue caused by bacterial infections. They are not common and are often the result of poorly treated mastitis.

These abscesses are not always associated with breastfeeding and can also be caused by bacteria entering the breast tissue through a wound, such as an acne or a nipple piercing.

The symptoms of a subearolic abscess are a painful lump with discolored and swollen skin.


If anyone thinks they may have an infection in their nipples or breasts, they should seek medical advice. Each infection requires different treatments.


For fungal infections, mother and child are treated with antifungal drugs.


Herpes can have serious consequences for the health of the baby and therefore prompt treatment is essential. A week of antiviral drugs is usually given to both the mother and the baby.

Subareolar abscesses

Subareolar abscesses often require antibiotic therapy. Sometimes, if they don't heal, surgery is needed to drain pus from breast tissue or to completely remove a duct.

Rare causes

Additional causes of white spots on the nipples that are less common include:

  • Vitiligo: An autoimmune disease that destroys the body's pigmented cells.
  • Paget's Disease: A very rare form of breast cancer with symptoms similar to eczema that starts in the areola and nipples.


Pregnancy and breastfeeding often cause white spots on the nipples and nipples. However, some spots can be caused by an infection or other serious medical condition.

Breast cancer is the leading cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States. The recommended way to improve breast health and reduce the risk of breast cancer is to identify and detect changes in the breasts.

If someone is concerned about their breasts or nipples and makes changes to them, they should always seek medical advice.