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Nipple Discharge: Presentations, Causes and Management

Nipple Discharge Presentations Causes and Management-1

Nipple discharge is usually nothing to worry about as it is a normal function of the breast BUT still can be a sign of breast cancer

Presentations of Nipple Discharge

  • Can be from one nipple or both
  • Can be from one duct or more
  • Can be spontaneous or induced (on squeezing the nipple)
  • Can be different colours, milky, cloudy, yellowish, brownish, green, dark, these colours are usually of harmless causes.
  • Clear and bloody nipple discharge warrant further investigations

Causes of Nipple Discharge

Causes are many:

  • Infection
  • Abscess
  • Contraceptive pills
  • Dilated milk ducts
  • Duct papilloma (Papilloma is a wart-like growth of the duct wall protruding in the duct lumen)
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Some medications and other causes
  • Invasive and non-invasive types of breast cancer can be the cause of nipple discharge
  • Pregnancy, breast-feeding, menstrual and menopausal hormonal changes are causes of nipple discharge

Treatment of Nipple Discharge

  • Always get checked, especially when the nipple discharge is either:

→ new

→bloody or clear

→ one breast/ one duct


  • Always get checked if you have breast lump, pain, changes in breast shape and/or nipple
  • You will need Clinical Breast Examination +/- mammogram/ductogram + ultrasound +/- biopsy

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