Fluid leaking from one or both nipples when you are not breastfeeding is called nipple discharge. Clear, cloudy, or white discharge that appears only when you press on your nipple is usually normal. The more the nipple is pressed or stimulated, the more fluid appears. Yellow, green, or brown discharge is not normal and may be a symptom of an infection or other problem. Spontaneous discharge appears without any pressing or stimulating of the nipple. This is not normal unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Nipple discharge can be an early symptom of breast cancer, but most cases of nipple discharge are due to benign conditions. The following are guidelines to differentiate benign discharge from discharge that is associated with malignancy:. If the discharge is spontaneous, and is coming from a single duct, the next step is to do a ductogram. A ductogram is a procedure in which contrast material is placed into the duct under local anesthesia and an X-ray is taken see link to picture. If an abnormality is seen in the duct the patient is taken directly to the operating room where the abnormal duct is removed. If the ductogram is normal and it was done without technical problems, we advise the patient to observe the discharge. If the discharge persists we repeat the ductogram.
Nipple discharge is any fluid or other liquid that comes out of your nipple. You might have to squeeze the nipple to get the fluid to come out, or it could seep out on its own. Discharge is usually not serious. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of nipple discharge and when you should talk with your doctor.
Nipple discharge during pregnancy and breast-feeding is normal. Nipple discharge happens less commonly in women who aren't pregnant or breast-feeding. It may not be cause for concern, but it's wise to have it evaluated by a doctor to be sure. Men who experience nipple discharge under any circumstances should be evaluated. One or both breasts may produce a nipple discharge, either spontaneously or when you squeeze your nipples or breasts.