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Nipple Discharge- Uncovering A Rainbow Of Breast Changes.

You may be under the impression that nipple discharge is a pregnant woman's issue, but it is so much more than that. What many people don't know is that nipple discharge can happen to men and non child-bearing women too. Luckily, most nipple discharge is not a cause of concern, but nonetheless it's color and consistency can give us a good hint about what might be going on inside our bodies.

Nipple discharge can be multiple consistencies. Some may find that the discharge looks thin and clear, while others thick and milky. Other forms may appear cloudy or almost cheese-like. There have been many occasions where, during mammography compression, my patients have had fluid expel from their nipples. Sometimes this was unilateral ( on one side) and other times, bilateral (from both sides). Sometimes this bodily reaction was expected and other times a shocking surprise. Pain may or may not be linked to nipple discharge. Many women have asked, once seeing the color of the liquid if it appeared to be problematic or not.

The color of nipple discharge may be a good predictor of what exactly is going on inside the breast and body. Here is a list to use as a guide:

  • Clear- Mammary Duct Ectasia (blocked milk duct).

  • Milky- Breast feeding, galactorrhea (increase levels of prolactin), those on birth control or sedatives, hormonal changes.

  • Yellow-Infection. A foul smell may indicate an abscess. A. fever may indicate mastitis.

  • Green- Fibrocystic disease.

  • Brown- Fibrocystic disease or clogged milk duct.

  • Red- Intraductal papilloma, trauma, breast cancer, Paget's disease.

Once the underlying cause is identified by your physician or gynecologist, a proper treatment plan will be created to ensure you the quickest recovery. Our breasts are a symbol of femininity, beauty, motherhood, and more. We watch them grow and develop as our lives evolve, so when you start to see them leak take heed and get them checked.


Medically reviewed by Brufsky, A. (1-27-2022), Internet article "An Overview of Nipple Discharge", by Envoy Davis, L, Verywell Health, 03-14-2022, <>.

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