Nipple discharge is any fluid that comes from the nipple of your breast. Sometimes nipple discharge is okay and gets better on its own. Your are likely to get nipple discharge if you have been pregnant at least once.
Nipple discharge is usually not cancer even though though rarely it may be a sign of cancer. It is important to find out the cause of discharge from the nipple and seek treatment.
Some of the reasons why you may experience nipple discharge include the following :
- breast injury
- recent breastfeeding
- inflammation or clogged breast duct
- non cancerous pituitary tumors
- fibrocystic breast
- small growth in the breast that is usually not cancer
- use of certain medications
- excessive breast stimulation
- use of certain herbs such as fennel
There are times when nipple discharge may be a symptom of breast cancer. The risk is higher if
- you have a lump in the breast
- the discharge contains blood
- the discharge is spontaneous
- the discharge affects only a single duct
- only one breast is affected
Discharge from the nipple may be normal if it comes out of both nipples and if it happens when you squeeze your nipples.
Your health care provide will perform a series of tests to find out the cause of the problem.
How is nipple discharge treated ?
Once the underlying cause is found, your health care provide will recommend various treatment options. These may include the following :
- lumps may be removed
- some or all of the breast ducts may be removed
- medication that caused the discharge may be changed
- you may receive treatment for health conditions that is causing the discharge from the nipple
- you may receive creams to treat skin changes around the nipple
If your tests comes back normal, you may not need any treatment. However you may have to go back for a mammogram or physical exam within a year.
Nipple discharge. Mayo Foundation. http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/nipple-discharge/basics/definition/sym-20050946. Accessed April 12, 2016
Breast and Nipple Discharge: What It Could Mean. WebMD. Breast and Nipple Discharge: What It Could Mean. Accessed April 12, 2016