What Causes Montgomery's Tubercles?

Montgomery tubercles are small glands located on the areola around the nipple, according to About.com. The naturally occurring glands typically are not noticeable until a woman becomes pregnant. At this point, they become bumpy and large.

The number of Montgomery tubercles that are present depends on the woman, but most women have an average of 10 to 15 on each side, states About.com. Since these small bumps are glands, they secrete a substance and a scent. The substance is oily and contains antibacterial properties. This helps to keep the area around the nipple free from infection. Researchers also believe that this scent helps newborns latch on for feeding.

As long as the Montgomery tubercles look healthy and soft, patients should not bother them, explains About.com. If a woman is concerned about how her Montgomery tubercles look, she should speak to her doctor. Though these bumps may look like acne, it is important that women not try to pop them or treat them with acne medication, which can dry out the nipples and may be dangerous for women who are pregnant or nursing. It is also important for women to avoid applying ointment, cream or lotion to their nipples unless the area is infected or severely dry, as these products can make problems worse.