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Discharge from breasts; Milk secretions; Lactation - abnormal; Witch's milk; Galactorrhea; Inverted nipple; Nipple discharge
Nipple problems can include tenderness, skin changes, changes in shape, or discharge from the nipple portion of the breast.
This article is about nipple problems or changes in women who are not breastfeeding or who have not just had a baby (postpartum).
Nipple tenderness or skin changes may be caused by:
The likelihood of nipple discharge increases with age. It is somewhat common in women who have had at least one pregnancy or are in the final weeks of pregnancy.
A milky nipple discharge is rare in men or women, but it does occur. When it occurs in men or in women who have never been pregnant, it is likely to be caused by an underlying disease. However, even then nipple discharge has many other causes that are NOT breast cancer, including:
Nipple inversion is a condition that you are born with. Nipple retraction may be caused by aging, duct ectasia, infections in the milk duct, or breast cancer.
Valea FA, Katz VL. Breast diseases: diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant disease. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 15.
Leitch AM, Ashfag R. Discharges and secretions of the nipple. In: Bland KI, Copeland EM III, eds. The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Disorders. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 4.
Gray RJ, Pockaj BA, Karstaedt PJ. Navigating murky waters: a modern treatment algorithm for nipple discharge. Am J Surg. 2007;194:850-854.
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