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Nipple discharge - abnormal
Alternative namesDischarge from breasts; Milk secretions; Lactation - abnormal; Witches milk; Galactorrhea
DefinitionThis symptom involves abnormal discharge from the nipple(s)
The likelihood of nipple discharge increases with age and number of pregnancies.
While a milky nipple discharge is rare in men and in women who have never been pregnant, it does occur. When it does, it is more likely to be caused by some underlying disease (particularly when accompanied by other changes in the breast(s).
It is relatively common in women who have had at least one pregnancy. A thin, yellowish, or milky discharge (colostrum) is normal in the final weeks of pregnancy.
The nature of the discharge can range in color, consistency, composition, and may occur on one side or both sides.
Witch's milk is a term used to describe nipple discharge in a newborn. The discharge is a temporary response to the increased levels of maternal hormones. Witch's milk should disappear within 2 weeks as hormone levels dissipate in the newborn.
Other nipple discharges can be bloody or purulent (containing pus), depending on the cause.
Follow provider-prescribed therapy.
Call your health care provider if
If there is any abnormal nipple discharge, call your health care provider.
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.
Medical history questions documenting a nipple discharge in detail may include:
The physical examination will include examination of the breasts for lumps or other abnormality.
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
After seeing your health care provider:
Update Date: 2/7/2002Peter Chen, M.D., Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT