Nipple Discharge

Chest | - Others | Nipple Discharge (Symptom)


Nipple discharge refers to any fluid that seeps out of the nipple of the breast, also known as the spontaneous flow of fluid from the nipple at any time other than during nursing. Breast discharge can be caused by a wide range of disorders, including cancer.

There are many different types of discharges. Some associations include: (1) cloudy white colour—most common, can be galactorrhea; (2) clear or light white -- pregnancy; (3) red—contains blood—most often due to breast infection or intraductal papillomas, but can be breast cancer; (4) whitish-yellow, yellow, or green -- pus due to infection.


The main causes of breast discharge are: medications such as antidepressants, breast irritation or stimulation, duct ectasia (expansion / dilation, inflammation, and hardening of milk ducts due to age or damage), pregnancy, Intraductal papilloma (a small noncancerous growth within the milk duct itself, like a wart, usually located near the nipple) or thyroid disorder.

Other less common causes of breast discharge can include: abscess (usually subareolar), prolactinoma, breast cancer, herbal preparations, street drugs, trauma to the breast and kidney failure/renal disease.

As symptoms for breast discharge, one or both breasts may produce a nipple discharge, either spontaneously or when the nipples or breasts are squeezed. A nipple discharge may look milky, or it may be yellow, green, brown or bloody. Non milk discharge comes out of the breasts through the same nipple openings that carry milk. The consistency of nipple discharge varies from thick and sticky to thin and watery.


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