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2 6 of females and 1 3 of males have a third nipple

By Elizabeth Marshall
Published in Human Body
February 02, 2024
2 min read
2 6 of females and 1 3 of males have a third nipple

2-6% of females and 1-3% of males have a third nipple.

A woman with three nipples

A man with three nipples


Did you know that a small percentage of women and men have something known as a third nipple? Yes, you read that right! It may sound strange or even mythical, but it’s true. According to reputable sources, approximately 2-6% of females and 1-3% of males possess this intriguing anatomical anomaly 1^. In this article, we will dive deeper into the world of supernumerary nipples and explore why they occur.

What are Supernumerary Nipples?

Supernumerary nipples, also called accessory nipples or polythelia, are additional nipples that form along the milk line, the embryonic structure from which breast development occurs. These extra nipples can appear anywhere along the milk line, extending from the armpit to the groin region, but they most commonly emerge around the chest area 1^.

The Genetics Behind the Phenomenon:

Like many other traits, supernumerary nipples have a genetic basis. The development of nipples is influenced by the transcription factor gene PAX3. Alterations in the PAX3 gene can lead to abnormalities in the formation of nipples, resulting in the occurrence of extra nipples 1^. Though this condition is mostly harmless, it serves as a visible reminder of our complex genetic makeup.

Frequency Disparities between Genders:

While both females and males can possess supernumerary nipples, the prevalence differs between the two. Studies indicate that around 2-6% of females and 1-3% of males are affected by this condition 1^. The reason for this gender disparity remains unclear, but hormonal differences between sexes might play a role 1^. These tiny additions on the chest can vary in appearance, from small, raised moles to fully functioning nipples with the ability to lactate 1^.

Cultural and Historical Significance:

Throughout history, supernumerary nipples have intrigued and captured the imagination of people. Some cultures even consider them to be lucky or a sign of fertility. Ancient Romans, for instance, believed that individuals with a third nipple possessed extra vitality and strength. Similarly, Indian folklore suggests that those born with an extra nipple will prosper financially 1^. It is fascinating to explore the diverse interpretations and beliefs surrounding this peculiar anatomical peculiarity.

The presence of a supernumerary nipple is generally harmless and rarely necessitates medical intervention. In some cases, however, it might be associated with other congenital abnormalities or medical conditions 1^. If you notice any unusual changes or discomfort related to your third nipple, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation.

Supernumerary nipples serve as a reminder of the mysteries that lie within our genetic blueprint, highlighting the diversity of the human body. Whether seen as a unique trait, a cultural symbol, or a mere curiosity, these additional nipples continue to captivate our interest.


  1. Pathology Outlines - Supernumerary Nipple


#Human Body


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Elizabeth Marshall

Elizabeth Marshall

Facts explorer

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