Anatomically, normal areolas differ in size, according to doctors at RealSelf. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may cause areolas to become larger, says About.com. In preparation for breastfeeding, areolas normally become darker.
Areolas and nipples may vary in shape, coloration, and size. Normal areolas come in many sizes, including very large, say doctors on RealSelf. If desired, a surgical procedure called a donut mastopexy is available to reduce them. It is an outpatient operation that may take place in a physician's office. It is best to wait until the breasts have finished developing before considering surgery to reduce the size of areolas.
Lumps or bumps may appear on or beneath the areola. Tiny bumps on it may signify Montgomery glands, small glands that moisten the nipple while breastfeeding, as noted by WebMD. A lump under the areola may signify a type of ductal carcinoma, a very treatable type of breast cancer, advises About.com. Other changes to the skin of the areola important to notice include above-normal temperature, thickened skin, inflamed appearance, and skin that has the texture of orange peels. While these may indicate a rash or infection, they may also by symptoms of breast cancer or Paget's disease of the nipple.