It is common but should not be taken lightly if it reoccurs. Discharge may occur in the case of regular exercise or post breast feeding. It is a cause of concern if the discharge is pink in color, occurs without squeezing, is only found in one breast, is accompanied by a lump, puss or redness. Make sure to visit your doctor if discharge prolongs for more than 2 days.
Is Nipple discharge normal if I am not pregnant?
Occasional nipple discharge among non-pregnant women is common; it’s either normal or due to a minor condition. Most pathological conditions that cause nipple discharge are not serious and are easily treated.
In few cases nipple discharge could be a sign of a serious medical condition and needs further evaluation.
Causes for Nipple discharge:
Stimulation: Nipples may secrete fluid when they are stimulated or squeezed. Normal nipple discharge may also occur when your nipples are repeatedly chafed by your bra or during vigorous physical exercise, such as jogging.
Breastfeeding in the past: Women who are not currently pregnant but who’ve breastfeed in the past can often experience sporadic nipple discharge for up to two years after they’ve stopped breastfeeding.
Medical problems that can cause nipple discharge include:
- A benign tumor in the milk duct (intraductal papilloma)
- Fibrocystic changes, including pain, cysts, and general lumpiness
- Duct ectasia (a menopause-related shortening of the milk ducts)
- An abscess or infection accompanied by pain, tenderness, redness, warmth, or a combination that begins suddenly in a breast.
- Having an under-active thyroid
- Pills or certain SSRI antidepressants.
When is Nipple discharge a cause for concern?
Nipple discharge is a cause of concern if it is accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Bloody or pink nipple discharge
- When the discharge occurs spontaneously, without the nipple’s being squeezed or stimulated by other means.
- When the discharge occurs in women aged 40 or older
- When the discharge is from only one breast
- When the discharge is accompanied by a lump that can be felt
- When the discharge continues for more than one menstrual cycle or if any of the warning signs are present, women should see a doctor. Delay of a week or so is not harmful unless there are signs of infection such as redness, swelling, discharge of pus. Women with such symptoms should see a doctor within 1 or 2 days.