CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Sometimes, nipple discharge is a normal part of your breast's function. If that's the case, the discharge might resolve on its own.
Most often, nipple discharge stems from a noncancerous (benign) condition. However, breast cancer is a possibility, especially if:
- You are over age 40
- You have a lump in your breast
- The discharge contains blood
- Only one breast is affected
Possible causes of nipple discharge include:
- Breast cancer
- Breast infection
- Excessive breast stimulation
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
- Hormone imbalance
- Injury or trauma to the breast
- Intraductal papilloma
- Mammary duct ectasia
- Medication use
- Paget's disease of the breast
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- Non-cancerous breast conditions. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003180-pdf.pdf. Accessed Jan. 13, 2011.
- Golshan M, et al. Nipple discharge. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 13, 2011.
- Breast disorders. The Merck Manuals: Home Edition for Patients and Caregivers. http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec22/ch251/ch251a.html. Accessed Jan. 13, 2011.