Mother produces breast milk from armpit two days after childbirth

New research explains why the woman was producing breast milk from a painful mass that grew in her right armpit two days after giving birth.

Mother produces breast milk from armpit two days after childbirth
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There are many stories of the odd bodily changes some women experience after childbirth but even doctors were intrigued by the case of a woman lactating from her armpit.

The 26-year-old Portuguese woman reported feeling pains in her armpit two days after giving birth.

A report published in The New England Journal of Medicine stated that upon close examination, doctors found a round mass in her armpit.

According to the report, the mass ‘released a white discharge when pressed’— a discharge which turned out to be breast milk.

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The woman developed pain in her armpit two days after giving birth. PA

Diagnosis

After further investigation, the team of medics at the Hospital de Santa Maria in Lisbon, Portugal, diagnosed the woman with polymastia:

...a condition in which accessory breast tissue develops along the former embryonic mammary ridge.

This additional tissue grows as a result of embryonic development when the cells that become mammary glands are forming a line from the armpit to the groin.

The condition happens during fetal development, usually disappearing everywhere except for the breast.

The most common location for accessory breast tissue is the armpit.

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The round mass secreted what doctors found to be breast milk PA

Rare but not novel

Research suggests that between 2% and 6% of women are born with additional breast tissue.

People may not realise they have the accessory breast tissue until they become pregnant or start breastfeeding if the site does not have a nipple or areola.

Some women can even pump breast milk from the accessory breast tissue.

In a 1999 paper, researchers describe the case of an 18-year-old woman with accessory breast tissue in the armpit who was able to successfully pump axillary breast tissue for eight weeks to relieve discomfort and continue breast-feeding.

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