Nipple discharge is any fluid that comes out of the nipple area in your breast. Sometimes discharge from your nipples is okay and will get better on its own. You are more likely to have nipple discharge as you get older and if you have been pregnant at least once. Nipple discharge is usually not a symptom of breast cancer. But it is important to find out what is causing it and to get treatment.
Here are some reasons for nipple discharge:
- Stopping breastfeeding
- Rubbing on the area from a bra or t-shirt
- Inflammation and clogging of the breast ducts (mammary duct ectasia)
- Injury to the breast
- Non-cancerous brain tumours
- Small growth in the breast that is usually not cancer (intraductal papilloma)
- Severe hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland)
- Fibrocystic breast (normal lumpiness in the breast)
- Use of certain medicines, such as birth control pills, cimetidine, methyldopa, metoclopramide, phenothiazines, reserpine, tricyclicantidepressants, or verapamil
- Use of certain herbs such as anise and fennel
- Widening of the milk ducts
Cancers that can cause nipple discharge are:
- Breast cancer.
- Paget’s disease of the breast (a rare form of breast cancer)
- Comes from only one nipple,
- Comes out on its own without you squeezing or touching your nipple,
- It comes out of both nipples
- Happens when you squeeze your nipples
- Need to change any medicine that caused the discharge
- Have lumps removed
- Have all or some of the breast ducts removed
- Receive creams to treat skin changes around the nipple
- Receive medicines to treat an underlying health condition.
The most important thing here is to seek medical advice as soon as you notice any changes in your breast. Better to be on the safe side.
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