Even if you are not pregnant or nursing, nipple discharge is frequent during the reproductive years.
The sight of nipple discharge could be frightening for women who aren’t nursing.
However, there’s no need to freak out if you discover a discharge coming from your breast.
Nipple discharge can be dangerous, although it’s usually either normal or the result of a small condition.
If you are not nursing, you should still call your doctor whenever you observe breast discharge.
Your doctor will choose the best course of treatment based on your symptoms and the findings of diagnostic testing.
Learn more about the symptoms, causes of nipple discharge in the following paragraphs, as well as when you should consult your doctor.
What are the symptoms of leaking nipples during pregnancy?
The symptoms of nipple discharge during pregnancy can vary, but the most common symptom is the actual discharge itself, which can be either spontaneous or expressed manually.
The discharge may be clear, yellow, green, or brown and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as:
Swelling or tenderness in the breast: The mammary glands may become engorged and swollen, causing breast tenderness or discomfort.
Changes in the appearance of the nipples: The nipples may become dark or elongated, or the areola may enlarge.
Itching or burning sensations: The skin around the nipples may become itchy or irritated, causing burning sensations.
Pain or discomfort: Some women may experience discomfort or pain in the breast or nipple area.
What are the causes of nipple discharge during pregnancy?
Nipple discharge during pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal changes, increased blood flow to the breasts, and stimulation of the breasts.
Some of the most common causes of nipple discharge during pregnancy include:
Hormonal changes: During pregnancy, the hormones estrogen and progesterone increase, which can stimulate the production of breast milk and cause nipple discharge.
Increased blood flow: Increased blood flow to the breasts can cause the ducts and glands within the breasts to become engorged, leading to nipple discharge.
Stimulation: Nipple stimulation, such as from a baby suckling or from manual stimulation, can cause the hormone oxytocin to be released, which triggers the ejection reflex and causes the milk to be expressed.
Stopped breastfeeding: Even after you have stopped nursing your child, you could find that a breast flow that resembles milk continues for some time.
Infection: An infection in the breast, such as mastitis, can cause nipple discharge. This discharge is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, pain, and swelling.
It’s important to note that not all nipple discharge during pregnancy is normal.
If the discharge is bloody, yellow, or green, it could be a sign of an underlying condition such as an infection or a benign growth in the breast.
If you experience any unusual nipple discharge during pregnancy, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider.
What is the connection between nipple discharge and breast cancer?
Nipple discharge can sometimes be a sign of breast cancer, although it is usually not the only symptom.
In some cases, breast cancer can cause a discharge from one or both nipples, which could be clear, yellow, green, bloody, or brown.
However, it’s important to note that the majority of cases of nipple discharge are not caused by breast cancer.
Many other factors, including hormonal changes, injury, infection, and certain medications, can also cause nipple discharge.
If you experience any unusual nipple discharge, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider.
They may perform:
- A breast exam
- Order imaging tests such as a mammogram or ultrasound
- A biopsy to determine the cause of the discharge and rule out any serious underlying conditions
If you are experiencing any other symptoms, such as a lump in the breast, changes in the appearance or feel of your breasts, or pain, it’s especially important to speak with your healthcare provider.
Early detection and treatment of breast cancer can greatly improve outcomes, so don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you have any concerns.
When should you visit the doctor?
Normal nipple discharge causes no concern.
It’s still worthwhile to have a doctor look it out because it could be an indication of breast cancer.
Seeing a doctor is especially crucial if:
- You have a breast lump, or changes to your skin’s texture or color
- You have breast pain or other breast cancer symptoms
- Your nipple has just developed a new discharge that resembles blood or pus that affects on breast and the discharge does not stop
- You’re feverish
- You have breast tenderness, redness, or edema
Your breast has seen recent alterations, including:
- A bulge or thickening under your arms or in your breasts
- A change in your breast’s size or shape
- Skin modifications like a dimple or a pucker
- An alteration in the nipple’s appearance (the nipple may look like it is being pulled into the breast)
- A change in the texture or color of your breast skin, as well as the darker area surrounding your nipple (areola)
It’s crucial to visit a doctor if you observe any nipple discharge in guys because it’s not common.
Leaking nipples during pregnancy is a common and normal phenomenon that occurs as the body prepares for breastfeeding.
Hormonal changes and nipple stimulation are the main causes of leaking nipples during pregnancy.
Although it is usually not a cause for concern, it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience any unusual or persistent symptoms, such as bloody, yellow, or green discharge, or if you are experiencing pain or discomfort.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some women may not experience leaking nipples during pregnancy, while others may experience it throughout their entire pregnancy.
This is a normal variation and does not indicate any underlying health problems.