What is nipple discharge?

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Nipple discharge in men: Overview

Fluid leaking from one or both nipples is called nipple discharge. Discharge from a man's breast is not normal and should always be checked by a doctor. Nipple discharge may be a symptom of an infection, a side effect of a medicine, or maybe a symptom of breast cancer.

Treatment depends on what is causing the nipple discharge. You may need more tests to find out the cause.

Spontaneous nipple discharge

Spontaneous nipple discharge is when fluid comes out of the nipple on its own. This means a person has not squeezed or pressed on a nipple or breast to force out the fluid.

Spontaneous nipple discharge is often noticed as a stain on a bra or clothing. Sometimes a person can see this discharge after taking a shower.

Fluid that comes out only when the nipple or breast is squeezed or pressed is different from a spontaneous discharge.

How can you care for nipple discharge?

  • If your doctor gave you medicine, take it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Wear a supportive bra, such as a sports bra or jog bra.
  • Avoid stimulating your breast until you have your follow-up appointment.

Nipple discharge in teens: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have swelling, redness, or pain in your breast.
  • You have new discharge from your nipple that looks like pus or blood.
  • You have new changes in your breast, such as:
    • A lump or thickening in your breast or armpit.
    • A change in the size or shape of your breast.
    • Skin changes, such as a dimple or pucker.
    • A change in the shape of a nipple (the nipple may look like it is being pulled into the breast).
    • A change in the color or feel of the skin of your breast or the darker area around the nipple (areola).

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.