Nipple Secretion

Facts About Nipple Secretions

  • The fluid from the breast is normal during pregnancy and in the period after a breastfeeding. Fluid from the breasts of newborn children is also quite normal
  • If you are not pregnant or breastfeeding recently, the liquid from the breasts be a harmless phenomenon, which can be a side effect of certain medications
  • In rare cases caused by fluid from the breast disorders in the brain or the metabolism
  • Cancer of the breast can cause fluid from one nipple, often bloody

What fluid (secretion) from the nipples?

  • With liquid from the breast (s) is meant the fluid delivery from one or both nipples in women who do not breast feed
  • The secretion may be continuous or episodic, the message or may be ample, free-flowing or be pressed out, from only one breast, or from both
  • In most cases these are the secretion of milk or milk-like liquid (galactorrhea), but the liquid may be yellowish or bloody.


  • Sparse fluid from the nipples are quite frequent and usually quite normal
  • In the vast majority of women are fluid from the breast, an innocent state, but in up to 5% is the cause breast cancer
  • If oozing bloody fluid from the breast, the risk of breast cancer to 25%
  • In rare cases, the cause may be the tumor changes in the brain (pituitary)

Why seep liquid?

  • Mammary glands consists of glands that produce milk after birth. A hormone called prolactin, secreted in large amounts from the brain ( pituitary ) right after giving birth and is the reason that milk production is stimulated. In some women fall mammary glands are not completely calm after breastfeeding is over, and they produce some liquid also outside the nursing periods. Some women produce more prolactin than others, and sensitivity of the mammary glands of prolaktinstimulering may vary
  • Stimulation of the breasts and nipples may be caused by sucking on nipples, irritation from clothes, printing / ironing / kildning of nipples and sexual activity. Such stimulation can increase the amount of prolactin. This leads to that secrete milk. In some cases, prolonged stress can be the explanation.

What can be the reason?

common causes

  • Various types of stimulation of the breasts. Is a normal phenomenon.
  • Prolonged stress
  • In newborn children caused by fluid from the breasts transfer of hormone (estrogen) from mother
  • breast cancer
    • The most common form of cancer among women, some 4000 cases per year in South Africa
    • Often incidental finding of lump in the breast, possibly. node in the armpit, 60% is present in the upper outer part of the breast
    • Symptoms may include fluid discharge from the nipple, usually from only one nipple.

rarer causes

  • Pituitary adenoma (prolactinoma)
    • Overproduction of prolactin in the pituitary
    • Rarer types of pituitary adenoma
  • Side effect of medication
    • A frequent cause of fluid from the chest
    • Most often, sedatives, antacids, birth control pills, some types of antihypertensive drugs
  • metabolic disease
    • Hypothyroidism
    • High metabolism
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
    • Is a rare cause and starting in the 15-25 age group
    • The condition occurs insidiously. It is characterized by irregular bleeding, sparse and infrequent periods or withdrawal menses, hirsutism (excessive hair growth), obesity, acne, increased susceptibility to diabetes (diabetes)
  • Chronic kidney failure

What can you do yourself?

  • If you are pregnant or breast-fed within the last year, and you also are feeling well and the liquid always come after some kind of stimulation of the breasts or nipples, you need not worry for the condition. Then further examination or treatment unnecessary
  • Newborns with liquid from the breasts require no action. It is a transient state. At the breastfed infants, the phenomenon persist a little longer than in children who are not breastfed

When to see a doctor?

  • If you have emerging generation, which is more than ½-one years ago a breastfeeding period and where there is no clear triggering cause, should seek medical advice
  • If you have fluid from the chest accompanied by other phenomena such as blood in the breast fluid, headache, fatigue, visual disturbances, menstrual disorders, increased thirst and urination, should seek medical advice
  • If you are unsure of what it can be

What does the doctor?

Medical history

Questions the doctor may ask you:

  • How long have you marked fluid from the breast?
  • Is it only one or both breasts?
  • Have you just given birth or breastfed?
  • Have there been blood in the fluid?
  • Fluid flows out of themselves, or must “milking” it?
  • Have you noticed other changes in the breasts?
  • Do you take real medicine?
  • Do you have other diseases?
  • Are your periods regular?
  • Have you noticed any other symptoms or discomfort?
  • Is there any trigger?

medical examination

  • The doctor will examine your breasts
  • Exceptionally there will be a need to conduct a more comprehensive study

other studies

  • In some cases it may be appropriate to take hormone tests – including check that you are not pregnant
  • In the rare cases where the doctor suspects brain tumor, an MRI scan may be necessary

Referral to a specialist or hospital

  • If your doctor is unsure about the diagnosis or suspected serious illness
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