Any change in the breasts can represent a greater alarm than any other change that we can find in other parts of the body. In general, finding a lump in the breast, pain in a breast, a change in the skin color in this area of the body, or fluid discharge from the nipples are facts that we usually associate with breast cancer and generate excessive anguish before obtaining a definitive diagnosis. However, although many of these symptoms are related to cancer, they are also signs of other types of conditions that do not represent any malignancy or threat to the health of the body.
When fluid is expelled through the breasts, it is considered that the person has discharge from the nipple, a condition that can be due to many illnesses and diseases and that to determine its cause, diagnostic tests and even biopsy of the fluid that is spilled should be performed. Most people who wonder why I am getting juice from my breasts get an unexpected answer: it is nothing serious. Everything is fine. Learn about the causes of nipple discharge in this FastlyHealarticle.
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Why is fluid coming out of the breasts?
The causes of nipple discharge are many, among the most common we find:
When the woman is pregnant or has been previously, it is more common to have discharge from one or both nipples. This liquid is nothing more than colostrum, the first food that the baby receives at birth and later becomes breast milk. A woman who has been pregnant can see fluid coming out of her breasts without the need to breastfeed and without being pregnant again.
The pituitary gland is the gland in charge of secreting a tremendous amount of hormones that the body needs to function correctly. Among the most important hormones produced by the pituitary gland, prolactin stands out, which is responsible for stimulating the secretion of milk through the mammary gland. When the pituitary gland is not working correctly, there is a tumor in the gland, and it is likely that it mistakenly secretes more prolactin than expected. This hormone, in turn, stimulates nipple secretion.
Mastitis is considered when there is some infection or abscess in the breast tissues due to common bacteria found on the skin that enter through a fissure in the nipple. Mastitis occurs in the breast’s fatty tissue and causes inflammation and pain. Breast infections are more common in women who have breastfed.
Ductal ectasia is the medical name for blockage or plugging of the ducts in the breast just behind the nipple. This condition is benign, not associated with breast cancer, and is more common in women near menopause. Ductal ectasia can cause swelling and pain in the nipple. Enlarged breast ducts can also be a cause of fluid in the breasts.
The cause of fibrocystic breasts is unknown. It is believed that the hormones produced by the ovaries can cause pain and swelling in the breast before and during the menstrual period. Fibrocystic breasts have, as the name implies, fibrous breast tissue, and lumps can be felt when touched. This condition is benign, but people with this type of breast are at higher risk of developing fluid in the breasts.
The breasts are perhaps one of the most sensitive parts of the entire human body. Any mistreatment they receive or any trauma to which they have been exposed can cause alterations in the ducts and breast tissue that lead to the secretion of any fluid in the nipple and even the expulsion of blood.
The thyroid gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormones, which intervene in the body in such vital processes as controlling the rhythm of the heartbeat up to body temperature. When thyroid activity is low, hypothyroidism occurs, which can cause an increase in prolactin that leads to secretion from the nipples.
Paget’s disease of the nipple
It is a type of breast cancer, perhaps one of the strangest and most rare, to the point that it only affects 1% of women globally. This cancer begins in the breast ducts and spreads to the nipple and areola, which is why one of its main symptoms is fluid discharge from the nipple.
Invasive lobulillar carcinoma
It is another type of breast cancer that attacks the milk-producing glands and can spread to the breast tissue. It can cause nipple discharge and is difficult to diagnose through a mammogram.
Tumor in the breast
The presence of a cell mass such as tumors or breast cysts can generate alterations in the breast such as dilation or tamponade of the same and, therefore, can be one of the causes of fluid leaking from the breasts.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Some antidepressant drugs, antipsychotics, hypotensive drugs, gastric protectors, amphetamines.
- Use of contraceptives and estrogen treatments.
- Trauma to the chest.
- Excessive stimulation during sex.
Symptoms of nipple discharge
When nipple discharge is not normal, it can be accompanied by the following symptoms:
- The fluid comes from a single nipple.
- The liquid contains blood.
- The combustion is spontaneous. It comes out on its own without the need to touch or squeeze the nipple.
When nipple discharge is normal :
- It occurs on both nipples.
- It only occurs if the nipple is squeezed or stimulated.
- Although the fluid color does not indicate whether the discharge is normal, it can be yellowish, greenish, white, clear, or brown.
Diagnosing why fluid is coming out of the breasts
Whenever nipple discharge occurs, and you are not breastfeeding, it is necessary to see a doctor immediately. The specialist, a gynecologist or a hematologist, will examine and squeeze the nipples to analyze the fluid and inspect the breasts for any irregularity. To offer a definitive diagnosis, the expert will need to perform some tests that allow him to confirm the cause of the nipple discharge, and these tests can be:
- Prolactin blood test.
- Thyroid blood test.
- CT or MRI scan of the head.
- Mammography and breast echo.
- Biopsy of the fluid secreted by the nipple.
- Ductography: X-ray with a contrast of the affected milk duct.
- Skin biopsy.
Treatment of nipple discharge
When fluid comes out of the breasts, treatment will consist of treating the disease or condition causing the discharge. In some cases, the treatment consists of:
- Stop taking certain medications.
- Removal of lumps in the breast.
- Removal of all or some breast ducts.
- Creams for topical treatment of changes in the skin of the breasts.
If all the tests performed are routine, no treatment is likely needed. However, it is recommended to re-examine the breasts within a year to verify that everything is in good condition and to rule out the appearance of alterations.
Finally, when you notice fluid coming out of your breasts, do your best to remain calm and immediately make an appointment with your doctor. Of course, remember: in most cases, nipple problems are not breast cancer but temporary complications that can be solved with treatment and follow-up.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why do I get fluid from my breasts, we recommend that you enter our category of Female reproductive system.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.