Breastfeeding for Beginners

Experienced Lactation Consultant  (IBCLC)  & Midwife 

providing breastfeeding support in North Brisbane ​​


Call Me !

0411 603 401

Hyperadenia & Polythelia

Hyperadenia/Polymastia/Hypermastia - mammary tissue without a nipple and Polythelia/Hyperthelia - supernumary nipples, are difficult to detect except during pregnancy and lactation when the extra glandular tissue can be expected to experience growth.

The most common site for hyperadenia is in the axilla and the condition is often bilateral. Occasionally the extra tissue may also have an ill-defined nipple which is often mistaken for a mole. Supernumerary nipples may be found anywhere along the 'milk line' between the axilla and the groin and may lactate. 

During pregnancy areas of hyperadenia may be quite sensitive and when lactation commences they may become uncomfortably engorged. The extra breast tissue in the axillary region is usually separate from the 'tail of Spence' so is unable to drain through the normal ductal system and relies on normal feedback mechanisms - the Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation, (FIL) to allow milk production to cease and involution to occur. 

Treatment is symptomatic:

  • Cold packs applied regularly for about twenty minutes at a time
  • Regular oral analgesic/anti-inflammatory drugs until the tissue involutes
  • Avoid stimulation of the extra tissue ​ 

Involution usually occurs within a couple of days although it may take > week. Slowing milk secretion occurs as the FIL accumulates and alveolar distension reduces transfer of prolactin into the alveoli. As with general engorgement it is important to avoid excessive stimulation i.e. do NOT massage the area, use heat packs or take very hot showers.

The illustration below shows the potential sites for supernumerary nipples to develop along the milk lines  - modified from Weatherly-White RCA: Plastic Surgery of the Female Breast, Hagerstown, Md, 1980, Harper & Row.