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The flow of fluid from the nipple of the breast

Symptoms of Nipple discharge

The following features are indicative of Nipple discharge:
  • bloody nipple discharge
  • breast lumps
  • breast pain

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Common Causes of Nipple discharge

The following are the most common causes of Nipple discharge:
  • sign of breast cancer
  • pregnancy
  • recent breastfeeding
  • rubbing on the area from a bra or t-shirt
  • injury to the breast

Other Causes of Nipple discharge

The following are the less common causes of Nipple discharge:
  • inflammation breast ducts
  • clogging of the breast ducts
  • non cancerous pituitary tumors
  • small growth in the breast
  • severe underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
  • fibrocystic breast
  • use of certain herbs, such as anise and fennel
  • widening of the milk ducts
  • Paget disease

Risk Factors for Nipple discharge

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Nipple discharge:
  • breast cancer
  • history of breastfeeding
  • use of oral contraception
  • hormonal replacement therapy

Prevention of Nipple discharge

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Nipple discharge. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • stick to regular checkup of breast if any change is seen

Occurrence of Nipple discharge

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Nipple discharge cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Nipple discharge most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 35-50 years

Common Gender

Nipple discharge most commonly occurs in the following gender:
  • Female

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Nipple discharge

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Nipple discharge:
  • Prolactin blood test: To measure the content of prolactin in blood
  • Thyroid blood test: To measure how well the thyroid gland is working
  • MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance imaging): To look for the pituitary gland
  • Head CT scan (Computed tomography): To provide detail information about head
  • Mammography: To examine the breast for any disease
  • Breast biopsy: To be sure about the cancer cells
  • Ductography: To provide information of breast’s milk ducts

Complications of Nipple discharge if untreated

Yes, Nipple discharge causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Nipple discharge is left untreated:
  • breast cancer
  • pituitary tumor.

Procedures for Treatment of Nipple discharge

The following procedures are used to treat Nipple discharge:
  • Microdochectomy: To remove duct that cause nipple discharge

Self-care for Nipple discharge

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Nipple discharge:
  • stick to regular checkup of breast if any change is seen

Time for Treatment of Nipple discharge

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Nipple discharge to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 6 months - 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Nipple discharge.

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