September 4, 2015

home > symptom checker >breast discharge symptoms

Breast Discharge (Nipple Discharge)

MedicineNet - Breast Discharge

Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index

Medical Author:

Related
Symptoms & Signs

Breast discharge is the spontaneous flow of fluid from the nipple at any time other than during nursing. Breast discharge can be caused by a wide range of disorders, including breast cancer, breast ectasia, and breast infection. Sometimes it's possible to feel breast cancer as a breast lump. The breast lump may or may not be painful or tender. Breast duct malformation (duct ectasia) can lead to breast discharge. Mastitis is the medical term for a breast infection, and mastodynia is the medical term for breast pain. Another name for the nipple is areola. A physician should evaluate persisting breast discharge (nipple discharge).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/4/2014

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Breast Discharge
    • Breast Cancer Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast...learn more »
      In This Article
      Breast Cancer Article
      • Breast cancer facts
      • What is breast cancer?
      • What are the different types of breast cancer?
      • What are the statistics on male breast cancer?
      • What causes breast cancer?
      • What are breast cancer risk factors?
      • What are breast cancer symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose breast cancer?
      • How is breast cancer staging determined?
      • What is the prognosis of breast cancer?
      • What is the treatment for breast cancer?
      • Is it possible to prevent breast cancer?
      • What research is being done on breast cancer? Is it worthwhile to participate in a clinical trial?
      • I may have breast cancer, what questions should I ask my doctor?
      • Is the doctor sure I have breast cancer?
      • What type of breast cancer do I have?
      • What difference does a precise diagnosis make?
      • What has been done to exclude cancer in other areas of the same breast or in my other breast?
      • What type of medical team do I need for the most accurate diagnosis?
      • Is my family history relevant to my breast cancer diagnosis?
      • What other studies should be done on my breast tissue biopsy?
      • How urgent is it that I make decisions and begin treatment?
      • Should I stop taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
      • Even though my breast tumor does not have hormone receptors, should I take tamoxifen to reduce the risk of a new tumor?
      • I have a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a type of localized cancer. Why have I been advised to have a mastectomy when other women with invasive cancer have lumpectomies?
      • Should I start chemotherapy before surgery?
      • If I am advised to have a mastectomy, what are the risks and benefits of immediate breast reconstruction?
      • Should my lymph nodes be removed?
      • What is a sentinel lymph node biopsy, and what are its benefits and risks?
      • Are there any other questions I should ask my doctor?
    • Cancer Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Cancer Article
      • Cancer facts
      • What is cancer?
      • What causes cancer?
      • What are cancer symptoms and signs?
      • What are the different types of cancer?
      • How is cancer diagnosed?
      • How is cancer staging determined?
      • What is the treatment for cancer?
      • What is the prognosis for cancer?
      • Can cancer be prevented?
      • Where can people find more information about cancer?
    • Inflammatory Breast Cancer Inflammatory breast cancer is an accelerated form of breast cancer that is not usually detected by mammogram or ultrasound....learn more »
      In This Article
      Inflammatory Breast Cancer Article
      • Inflammatory breast cancer facts
      • What is inflammatory breast cancer?
      • How is inflammatory breast cancer different from other breast cancers?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose inflammatory breast cancer?
      • What are the stages of inflammatory breast cancer?
      • What is the treatment for inflammatory breast cancer?
      • What are the survival rates and prognosis for inflammatory breast cancer?
    • Is Cancer Contagious? Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells. A variety of parasites and viruses have been linked to various cancers. Cancer may...learn more »
      In This Article
      Is Cancer Contagious? Article
      • What is cancer?
      • Is cancer contagious?
      • How will I know if I have cancer?
      • How does cancer spread?
      • When will I know I am cured of cancer?
      • When should I contact a medical caregiver about cancer?
    • Kidney Failure Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss,...learn more »
    • Male Breast Cancer Male breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers, and most cases are found in men between the ages of 60 and 70. A man's...learn more »
      In This Article
      Male Breast Cancer Article
      • Male breast cancer facts
      • What is male breast cancer?
      • How common is male breast cancer?
      • What are causes and risk factors of male breast cancer?
      • What are the different types of male breast cancer?
      • What are male breast cancer symptoms and signs?
      • How is male breast cancer diagnosed?
      • What is staging of male breast cancer?
      • What is the treatment for male breast cancer?
      • What is the outcome (prognosis) of male breast cancer?
    • Paget Disease of the Breast Paget's disease is a rare form of cancer that forms in or around the nipple and frequently coexists with breast cancer. The exact...learn more »
      In This Article
      Paget Disease of the Breast Article
      • Paget disease of the breast facts*
      • Paget disease of the breast key points
      • What is Paget disease of the breast?
      • Who gets Paget disease of the breast?
      • What causes Paget disease of the breast?
      • What are the symptoms of Paget disease of the breast?
      • How is Paget disease of the breast diagnosed?
      • How is Paget disease of the breast treated?
      • What is the prognosis for people with Paget disease of the breast?
      • What research studies are under way on Paget disease of the breast?
    • Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) There are many symptoms involved in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. The first early pregnancy symptom is typically...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pregnancy (Week By Week, Trimesters) Article
      • Pregnancy facts*
      • Introduction
      • What is the first trimester (week 1-week 12)?
      • What is the second trimester (week 13-week 28)?
      • What is the third trimester (week 29-week 40)?
      • How will my baby develop week by week?
      • What are the changes that happen to a woman's body during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester of her pregnancy?
      • Body aches
      • Breast changes
      • Constipation
      • Dizziness
      • Fatigue, sleep problems
      • Heartburn and indigestion
      • Hemorrhoids during pregnancy
      • Itching
      • Leg cramps
      • Morning sickness
      • Nasal problems
      • Numb or tingling hands
      • Stretch marks, skin changes
      • Swelling
      • Urinary frequency and leaking
      • Varicose veins
    • Prolactinoma (Pituitary Tumor) Prolactinoma is an adenoma (benign tumor) of the pituitary gland. Causes of many prolactinomas are unknown. Symptoms in women...learn more »
      In This Article
      Prolactinoma (Pituitary Tumor) Article
      • Prolactinoma facts
      • What is a prolactinoma (pituitary tumor)?
      • What is the normal function of prolactin?
      • What is the pituitary gland?
      • Where is the pituitary gland located?
      • What problems are caused by a pituitary tumor?
      • How common is a prolactinoma?
      • What are the types of prolactinomas?
      • What causes a prolactinoma?
      • What symptoms are caused by a prolactinoma?
      • Aside from a prolactinoma, what else can cause prolactin levels to rise?
      • How is a prolactinoma diagnosed?
      • What follow-up tests are done after a prolactinoma diagnosis?
      • What are the goals of treatment of a prolactinoma?
      • How is a prolactinoma treated?
      • What medications are used to treat prolactinomas?
      • What is the surgical treatment of a prolactinoma?
      • How do I choose a skilled neurosurgeon?
      • Does a prolactinoma affect pregnancy and oral contraceptives?
      • Do prolactinomas affect oral contraceptives?
      • Is osteoporosis a risk in women with high prolactin levels?
Other Causes of Breast Discharge
  • False Pregnancy (Pseudocyesis)
  • Medications
  • Overexercise
  • Trauma


Symptoms & Signs A-Z List



Women's Health

Find out what women really need.