Summary: Breasts can come in a wide variety of shapes in sizes, and so too can the nipples. It may surprise you to learn that there are actually eight different types of nipples, including those that are inverted.

Inverted nipples are essentially nipples that are indented instead of protruding, and they’re often not visible.

Although inverted nipples pose no medical problems, some women may seek cosmetic treatment to turn their innies into outies.

If you suspect that one or both of your nipples is inverted, read on to learn some interesting facts about this normal nipple variation.

1. You Can Thank Genetics for Inverted Nipples

Inverted nipples have to do with internal breast anatomy. Breast tissue along the milk duct, which connects to the nipples, is shorter, and actually pulls the nipples inward. If you have inverted nipples, you likely inherited them from your mother or father’s side of the family, as they’re genetic in nature. You didn’t do anything to cause your nipples to be inverted.

2. About One-Fifth of All Women Have Inverted Nipples

Inverted nipples are actually more common than having blue or green eyes, with approximately 10 to 20 percent of all women experiencing nipple inversion. And women don’t hold exclusive rights to innies. Men can also have inverted nipples.

3. Not All Nipple Inversions Are Permanent

It’s no surprise that pregnancy can impact the breasts, and that includes the nipples. Interestingly, some women with inverted nipples have noticed that during pregnancy, their nipples protrude. On the flip side, women with protruding nipples may actually find that their nipples temporarily become inverted during pregnancy.

4. You Can Still Nurse with Inverted Nipples

Nipple inversion can pose an extra challenge for nursing, but there are techniques that can help you breastfeed. With the Hoffman Technique, you can place a thumb on each side of the nipple and push in firmly. This will encourage the nipple to move up and outward.

Some women find that wearing breast shells can help to draw out the nipple. Breast shells can be worn during pregnancy, so that as the breast tissue expands, the pressure exerted by the shell can draw the nipple out. Additionally, the suction of a breast pump can also help inverted nipples to come out.

5. Inverted Nipples Are Just as Sensitive as Protruding Nipples

The breasts are one of the body’s top erogenous zones, and protruding nipples are sometimes associated with sexual arousal. However, just because inverted nipples don’t necessarily stand at attention does not mean that they are any less sensitive than their pert counterparts. Inverted nipples have just as much sensation as protruding nipples, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on any sensitivity.

6. Nipple Inversion Can Be Corrected During Breast Augmentation

While many women are perfectly content to rock a pair of innies, some decide to seek surgery to correct their inverted nipples. The surgery involves making an incision at the base of the nipple so that the surgeon can release the short fibers that keep the nipple pulled in. Although nipple inversion surgery can be a stand-alone procedure, some women choose to have it done in conjunction with a breast augmentation. If you’re interested in finding out how you can address your nipple inversion along with a breast enhancement procedure, consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon for optimal results.