Nipple discharge is when fluid leaks from one or both nipples. It is normal after a woman gives birth because her breasts are making milk for the baby. Nipple discharge may be a concern when it:
- happens in a woman who is not breastfeeding
- occurs on its own, or spontaneously, without squeezing the nipple
- comes out of more than one duct in the breast
- has blood in it
Nipple discharge is usually due to a
The discharge can look different depending on what causes it.
- Clear or bloody discharge, often from one nipple, may be caused by a non-cancerous tumour called intraductal papilloma.
- Thick or sticky discharge that is green, greenish brown or reddish brown may be caused by a non-cancerous condition called mammary duct ectasia.
- Yellow and foul-smelling pus may be caused by a breast infection.
- Milky white discharge from both breasts may be caused by some medicines or endocrine gland problems.
If you have nipple discharge, your doctor may ask about any medications that you are taking. The following tests may be used for diagnosis.
- clinical breast exam (CBE)
- blood tests to check
- looking at a sample of the discharge in the laboratory
Treatment for nipple discharge will depend on what is causing it. Treatment options may include:
- medications to treat hormone or endocrine gland problems
- antibiotics for breast infections, and draining any pus collecting in the breast (abscess)
- surgery to remove a duct
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