The nipple is a small projection of skin on the breast that contains lactiferous ducts that surround the tip in a circular fashion. The physiologic purpose of the nipple is to supply milk via breastfeeding. Many women wonder if their nipples are normal. Normal nipples vary in many regards from size, color, and sensitivity. In some women, the nipples are constantly erect which does not signify any problem whereas, in other women they only become erect when stimulated by touch or cold. The nipples become erect due to the contraction of smooth muscle (specialized muscle fibers). When the nipple is stimulated, the muscle fibers contract causing the areola to pucker and making the nipple erect. Nipple erections are similar to getting goosebumps on your skin, both are caused by the pilomotor reflex. Erect nipples occur in both males and females. Nipples are full of nerves and some people have very sensitive nipples. Exposure to cold is a common cause of erect nipples. Sexual arousal and breastfeeding both can cause erect nipples through the release of oxytocin. It is important to discuss your nipple concerns with your primary care doctor
or gynecologist and have a yearly breast exam. If you are embarrassed by your erect nipples you can try taping bandaids over your nipples or wearing a lightly padded or lined bra.