Areolar gland

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Areolar glands
Closeup of female breast.jpg
Montgomery tubercles
Functionlubricate nipple
Latinglandulae areolares
Anatomical terminology

Areolar glands, Glands of Montgomery, Glandulae areolares, Montgomery glands, Tubercula Montgomery, or Tubercula areolae are 10-15 elevations of the areola, usually arranged in a circle around the nipple, which are often particularly visible when the nipple is erect.

They are sebaceous glands which produce an oily secretion to lubricate the nipple when breastfeeding. Their function is to protect the skin and provide some air tightness between the infant's mouth and the nipple. Thus, they promote adequate breast feeding of the infant. In addition, recent research suggests that they produce a type of scent (pheromone) that guides infants to food.[1]


Areolar glands are round bumps found in the areola, and sometimes on the nipple.


The tubercles become more pronounced during pregnancy. The number of glands can vary greatly, usually averaging from 4 to 28 per breast.[2]


Areolar glands make oily secretions (lipoid fluid) to keep the areola and the nipple lubricated and protected. Volatile compounds in these secretions may also serve as an olfactory stimulus for newborn appetite.[3] They can become exposed and raised when the nipple is stimulated. The skin over the surface opening is lubricated and tends to be smoother than the rest of the areola.

Clinical significance[edit]

Areolar glands may secrete excessive amounts of oil.[4] This is a neutral condition that rarely represents any underlying problem, unlike galactorrhoea.[4]


Areolar glands may also be called Glands of Montgomery, or Montgomery tubercles. They are named after Dr. William Fetherstone Montgomery (1797–1859), an Irish obstetrician who first described them in 1837.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Doucet, Sébastien; Soussignan, Robert; Sagot, Paul; Schaal, Benoist (2012-02-01). "An overlooked aspect of the human breast: Areolar glands in relation with breastfeeding pattern, neonatal weight gain, and the dynamics of lactation". Early Human Development. 88 (2): 119–128. doi:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2011.07.020. ISSN 0378-3782. PMID 21852053.
  2. ^ Donovan, Debbi (January 1, 2010). "What are Montgomery's tubercles?". Archived from the original on May 4, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2008.
  3. ^ Doucet, Sébastien; Soussignan, Robert; Sagot, Paul; Schaal, Benoist (2009). Hausberger, Martine (ed.). "The Secretion of Areolar (Montgomery's) Glands from Lactating Women Elicits Selective, Unconditional Responses in Neonates". PLOS ONE. 4 (10): e7579. Bibcode:2009PLoSO...4.7579D. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007579. PMC 2761488. PMID 19851461.
  4. ^ a b Heyman, Richard B.; Rauh, Joseph (1983-12-01). "Areolar gland discharge in adolescent females". Journal of Adolescent Health Care. 4 (4): 285–286. doi:10.1016/S0197-0070(83)80013-8. ISSN 0197-0070. PMID 6227594 – via ScienceDirect.
  5. ^ synd/1513 at Who Named It?
  6. ^ Montgomery, William F. (1837). An exposition of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy, the period of human gestation, and the signs of delivery. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper. OCLC 738411950.[page needed]