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Montgomery glands, also referred to as areolar glands, are glands located in the areola area of the nipple. These glands appear on both the areola and on the nipple itself. The number of these glands vary. There can be fewer than five or more than 20 Montgomery glands present. These glands are responsible for secreting fluid in order to keep the nipple and areola lubricated.
The areola is the circular area of darkened skin surrounding the nipple of the breast. The primary reason for the discoloration of this area is that the areola roughly outlines the location of the mammary glands in the breast. These are the glands responsible for producing milk in females.
The Montgomery glands are named after the 19th century Irish obstetrician Dr. William Fetherstone Montgomery. Montgomery was the first to describe these glands. The Montgomery glands are the most prominent when the nipple has been stimulated. They can also be more noticeable during pregnancy.
The Montgomery glands are sometimes susceptible to infection or irritation. Infection is often related to mastitis, an infection involving the mammary glands as well as surrounding glands and tissue. Mastitis is most common in women who are pregnant or lactating. When infection is present, medical treatment is required in order to get rid of the infection and keep it from spreading.
A condition commonly referred to as jogger's nipple involves irritation of the Montgomery glands and surrounding tissue. The correct term for this condition is fissure of the nipple, however. Common symptoms include dryness, soreness, or bleeding involving one or both nipples following exercise such as running that is caused when clothing repeatedly rubs against the nipples during repetitive movement.
An easy way to prevent this from developing is to place a bandage over the nipples before starting an exercise regiment. The bandage will act as an effective barrier between the skin and clothing. Surgical tape often works as well as a bandage to prevent damage from occurring.
Once this condition has already developed, there are a few ways to treat the irritation at home. Any lubricant containing pure lanolin will aid in the healing process and relieve some of the irritation. Liquid bandages can sometimes help, although there is oftentimes a pronounced stinging sensation upon application of this type of product. If the irritation has not been significantly lessened within a few days of home treatment, medical attention is generally indicated.
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