Women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding, the sight of leaking nipple can be an alarming signal. However, you notice nipple leakage; there is no reason to get panic. Sometimes, nipple discharge can be more serious, in many situations; the condition might be normal or due to any other reasons.
Still, if you are not breastfeeding and notice leaking nipple for many periods of time, then you should contact your health care provider. Your doctor will diagnose you and based upon the symptoms you experience, he/she will decide the course of treatment for you.
Causes of nipple discharge when you are not pregnant:
There are various conditions that can result in nipple leakage. In case your initial diagnosis results indicate the discharge is abnormal, then you may need to undergo further tests for clear evaluation. These tests will help you determine the underlying condition that is causing your problem. Here are the additional tests that you have to undergo for further evaluation:
- Blood test
- Analysis of the discharge in a laboratory
- Brain Scan
- Ultrasound and/or mammogram of your breasts
- Surgical removal and examination of one or more ducts in your nipple
The most possible causes of leaking nipple when you are not pregnant include:
Galactorrhea: During this condition, your breasts secret milk or noticing a milky discharge from the nipple though you are not breastfeeding. This is not a medical condition, but it has various causes, such as:
- Tumors in Pituitary gland
- Usage of herbs like fennel and anise
- Usage of medications like hormonal supplements or psychotropic drugs
- Usage of illegal drugs like Marijuana
Breast infection: Breast infection can cause leakage of pus from the nipple. This condition is usually called as Mastitis. Usually, this condition is noticed in women who are breastfeeding, but it can also be seen in women who are not feeding. Abscess or infection in the breast can also make the breasts red, sore, and warm to touch.
Intraductal papilloma: This is a condition in which non-cancerous growths are observed in the breast ducts. These are the most common reason for which most women experience abnormal nipple discharge. When these non-cancerous growths become larger, then it will result in abnormal nipple discharge. Sometimes, you may even notice blood in the discharge.
Ectasia: Ectasia is a condition that affects mammary ducts. This is the second most common cause of abnormal nipple discharge. This condition is usually observed in women who are very near to their menopausal stage. This condition results in inflammation and blockage of ducts located underneath the nipple. When this happens, it can cause an infection in the breasts, which results in thick and greenish discharge from the nipples.
Fibrocystic Breast changes: Fibrocystic means the presence or growth of fibrous tissues and cysts. These kinds of changes can result in breast changes that can lead to breast lumps or thickening of breast tissues. However, they don’t indicate the existence of cancer. This condition can cause itching and pain in the nipple area and sometimes it can cause secretion of white, clear, green or yellow color nipple discharge.