General Question

DominicX's avatar

Does nipple/aureola size in men have anything to do with estrogen/testosterone?

Asked by DominicX (28777points) December 31st, 2009

I’m just wondering because I’ve noticed that a lot of guys have small nipples that are barely noticeable (you can count me in that crowd) and others have larger ones (you can count my boyfriend in that crowd. Saw a pic of him next to 7 shirtless guys, his were bigger than all of theirs and he’s a small person). I’m not talking about if someone has man boobs or not, I’m just referring to the actual darker part, the nipple itself.

Yes, I know this question is very weird, but Google isn’t providing a lot of info for me. I was hoping maybe someone here is an “expert” on this topic…

I’m not suggesting if it has anything to do with being gay, but I am curious.

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7 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

Well now that the original question has been ammended, my previous comment would be redundant. So, as Emily Litella used to say:

…never mind…


DominicX's avatar


Alright, luckily I could still edit the question. I suppose I was kind of asking about both, though the only part noticeable to me was the aureola.

JLeslie's avatar

Never thought of this before, I always thought it was just genetic. I have never really checked out a lof of nipples/aureolas on men, but among women ethnicity and skin color seems to influence nipples a lot from what I can tell. Hopefully a doctor will comment.

SeventhSense's avatar

I don’t think so and probably just genetic as JLeslie points out. I don’t think there’s any correlation just as there’s no correlation between a woman’s nipple size and estrogen production. But it’s apparently possible that men can actually breastfeed in certain circumstances:
In 1978, “The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding” a book by medical anthropologist Dana Raphael, claimed that men can have produced milk after stimulating their nipples…

The Scientific American 1997, came across the year 1896 compendium Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine, George and Walter Pyle catalogue several instances of male nursing being observed. Among them was a south American man, observed in Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who subbed as wet nurse after his wife fell ill as well as male missionaries in Brazil that were the sole milk supply for their children because their wives has shriveled breasts. More recently, Agence France-Press reported a short piece in 2002 on a 38-year-old man is Sri Lanka who nursed his two daughters through their infancy after his wife died during the birth of her second child.

wilma's avatar

The nipple and areola usually darken during pregnancy in women. I believe this is caused by hormones, but I don’t think that would be the case in a man.
As I recall from gym class, there were all kinds of variations in shade of areola, (in girls) from very dark brown, to red to very pale pink. I think it’s probably just genetics.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Yes, it is genetically determined.

ABushMed's avatar

By experience you can only have estrogen/testosterone levels influencing areola and nipple size when you have male breast tissue or glandular tissue under the areola expanding the tissue, kind of like drawing a circle on a balloon and inflating it. In regards to areola and nipple size when not looking at gynecomastia as source, you can safely say it is a genetic factor. On a personal note, my father and both of my brothers have similar areolas. Hope this helped :)

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