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Nipple Problems and Discharge

What are some common nipple problems?

Nipple conditions are a common benign breast condition affecting many women. Some problems are related to lactation, while others are not. Like all breast conditions, any nipple problems should be reported to your physician for a prompt diagnosis and treatment.

How is nipple discharge diagnosed?

Your physician will, most likely, want to determine if the discharge is coming from one duct or several. Multiple duct discharge is nearly always benign and is likely due to changes like ectasia. When the discharge is coming from a single duct, this may be more significant. However, if mammography shows no abnormality, surgery may not be necessary.
Nipple discharge may occur in a variety of colors and textures. Your physician may take a sample of the discharge and have it analyzed in a laboratory to confirm a diagnosis.

Treatment for ectasia:

Specific treatment for ectasia will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the condition
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the condition
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment for ectasia generally involves treating the symptoms. This may include warm compresses and/or antibiotics. In some cases, surgery is required to remove the breast duct(s).