Milk discharge from the nipple is not unusual in late pregnancy or in lactating mothers. Other forms of nipple discharge however may indicate health problems.
Here are 5 common reasons why you may be experiencing nipple discharge:
1. Hormonal changes: Changes in the levels of the female sex hormones before a period may cause clear, watery discharge from one or both nipples.
Milky discharge from both nipples in non-pregnant women, a condition known as galactorrhea, may be as a result of an excess of prolactin hormone(a hormone that stimulates milk production from the breasts in the body). Excess of prolactin hormone can be caused by:
– A non-cancerous tumour called prolactinoma in the brain which causes excess secretion of prolactin.
-A condition called hyperthyroidism in which there is an excess of thyroid hormones.
– or may be a side effect of taking certain drugs. eg. Anti-psychotics.
2. Enlargement of the breast ducts: medically known as breast duct ectasia, is a condition in which one or more milk ducts in the breast become enlarged and may produce a discharge which may be sometimes blood stained. The cause of this is unknown.
3.Breast cancer: Watery or bloody nipple discharge may be suspicious for breast cancer,however, more often than not, bloody nipple discharge is as a result of a papilloma (a non-cancerous breast tumour) in the breast.
4. Infections in the breast: Pus-discharge from the nipple may be as a result of infections in the milk ducts of the breast, these infections are usually common in lactating mothers and are usually caused by bacteria; they can be treated with antibiotics.
If you notice any abnormal nipple discharge, you should visit a standard hospital to see a doctor for proper tests and diagnosis to be carried out.