Nipple discharge isn’t usually a sign of anything serious, but sometimes it’s a good idea to get it checked just in case.
Nipple discharge is often normal
Lots of women have nipple discharge from time to time. It may just be normal for you.
It’s also not unusual for babies (boys and girls) to have milky nipple discharge soon after they’re born. This should stop in a few weeks.
Nipple discharge in men isn’t normal.
The colour of your discharge isn’t a good way of telling if it’s anything serious. Normal discharge can be lots of colours.
See a GP if you have nipple discharge and any of these:
- it happens regularly and isn’t just a one-off
- it only comes from one breast
- it’s bloodstained or smelly
- you’re not breastfeeding and it leaks out without any pressure on your breast
- you’re over 50
- you have other symptoms – such as a lump, pain, redness or swelling in your breast
- you’re a man
It’s probably nothing serious. But there’s a small chance it could be cancer so it’s best to get checked.
Causes of nipple discharge
Nipple discharge has many possible causes. Common causes include:
- breastfeeding or pregnancy – see leaking nipples in pregnancy
- a blocked or enlarged milk duct
- a small, non-cancerous lump in the breast
- a breast infection (mastitis)
- a side effect of a medicine – including the contraceptive pill
Breast Cancer Care has more on common conditions that can cause nipple discharge.
Nipple discharge by itself isn’t usually a sign of breast cancer.