Tail of Spence: Doctors Explain Why Utah Mom Leaks Breast Milk From Her Armpit

Photo: (Photo : PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)

A mother based in Salt Lake City, Utah, has a massively popular TikTok video where she showed that she leaks breast milk from her armpit. Lindsay White has two kids between the ages of 9 and 4, and she is due to give birth to a third baby in October, which partly explains why she's beginning to lactate.

However, nearly five million viewers of her Tiktok video have been amazed that she could express breast milk from her right armpit. She explained to her viewers that she started noticing a huge lump on her pits and was surprised when something came out when she tried to squeeze the lump.

White asked her doctor if she has a third nipple, but she was told that this isn't unusual for some pregnant and lactating mothers. Her doctor then discussed the Tail of Spence, roughly a part of the body's anatomy that extends the breast tissues into the axilla (armpits).

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Read Also: Mastitis Complications: Prevention Tips Shared as Lauren Burnham Suffers Infection

What is a Tail of Spence?

Priscila Medina, a board-certified lactation consultant, told Buzzfeed News that breast milk could be squeezed from the armpits because the milk glands work similarly to sweat glands. Both run on the same line of tissues that goes from the armpit to the groin.

The Tail of Spence, which was named after Scotland surgeon James Spence, covers the upper lateral quadrant of the body with the breast and the armpits. For pregnant moms, the tissues in the Tail of Spence could facilitate swollen and leaky "milk pits" and breasts, especially when they start producing milk in the second or third trimester of their pregnancy.

In the majority of the cases, mothers won't know that they have leaky milk pits until then. However, in White's case, her doctor said that she was "lucky" to have milk squirting out of her armpits because other moms tend to develop clogged ducts, which could lead to mastitis.

White did say that she experienced leaky milk pits with her first two kids, but they weren't as large as the one she developed for her third pregnancy. She admitted, however, that the swelling can be painful, and this is her biggest gripe about her whole experience.

Medina said that, as with typical breast engorgement, expressing the milk will usually prevent the pain. Frequently massaging the sore spot may also provide relief, alongside a doctor-prescribed anti-inflammatory medication. When White starts breastfeeding her newborn, Medina expects that the armpit leaks will go away.

A Case in Portugal

Meanwhile, doctors in Portugal have recently encountered a mother who had leaky milk pits a few days after she gave birth. They diagnosed her condition as polymastia, which means that she has an accessory or supernumerary breast tissue, also known as a third nipple. It is a more complicated case than developing a milk line in the armpits, as in White's case.

According to studies, only two to six percent of women around the world may have polymastia, and it could be detected during routine breast cancer screenings. Experts say that this happens because of hormonal changes in the body.

Surprisingly, however, even men can develop supernumerary breast tissue, especially if it runs in the family. These may appear like moles, freckles, or even a dimple if it doesn't look like a regular nipple.

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