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What Are the Causes of Breast Discharge?

Breast discharge or nipple discharge can be alarming to women who are not breastfeeding. It refers to secretion of any fluid from the nipple in a non-lactating woman. This condition in most of the cases is a result of a minor condition and nothing to panic. 

In pregnant women, clear or watery nipple discharge is normal. There can be reasons for abnormal discharge in some cases and the causes of nipple changes may be various.

One or both breasts may secrete a discharge when squeezed or spontaneously. The discharge may be yellow, green, brown, milky or bloody and the consistency of the nipple discharge can vary from thin, watery to sticky. 

Along with the discharge, some changes in the breasts might take place such as tenderness, inverted nipples, redness, dimples or rash around the nipple or lumps. Discharges can be due to a benign condition or breast cancer.

Breast cancer is a common type of cancer in women and one of the symptoms of this condition can be bloody discharge from the nipple. Galactorrhea is the condition of a milky nipple discharge which is not related to lactating. 

The other causes of breast discharge may be hormonal imbalances, injury to breast, widening of the milk ducts, breast infection or fibroadenoma.