Breast Secretions in Teens
Some occasional discharge from your nipples is normal and not necessarily indicative of disease. Sometimes galactorrhea is a result of sensitivity of your breasts to lactin, the hormone that stimulates the production of milk. Sometimes it may be caused by medication. It's always a good idea to check with your doctor.
Discharge Caused by Different Conditions
Healthy women of various ages occasionally experience breast secretions. Depending on the nature of the discharge and your general health status, these secretions may be benign, or harmless, or sometimes signs of disease. If your nipples are stimulated frequently, by clothing or sexual contact, this can often cause some breast discharge.
Sometimes a nipple discharge is an early sign of pregnancy, if you have been having intercourse. If any nipple discharge is worrisome, you need to have it examined and evaluated by a gynecologist who can perform a clinical breast exam.
- Healthy women of various ages occasionally experience breast secretions.
- If your nipples are stimulated frequently, by clothing or sexual contact, this can often cause some breast discharge.
Treatment for Galactorrhea
Menopause and Nipple Soreness
If you experience discharge of a milky substance from one or both breasts not associated with breast feeding after childbirth, it may be just a temporary reaction to certain drugs or to tight clothing that irritates the nipples. In other cases, however, such discharge—known as galactorrhea—is symptomatic of a benign pituitary tumor. If it is a small tumor, it can be treated with bromocriptine.
If the tumor is larger and unresponsive to therapeutic drugs, surgery on the gland, located near the base of the brain, can remove it. If both medications and surgery fail to remove the tumor, it can be shrunken with radiation therapy.
- If you experience discharge of a milky substance from one or both breasts not associated with breast feeding after childbirth, it may be just a temporary reaction to certain drugs or to tight clothing that irritates the nipples.
- If both medications and surgery fail to remove the tumor, it can be shrunken with radiation therapy.
When to Call Your Doctor
A non-milky nipple discharge, especially if it is clear, bloody or yellow and coming from just one breast, needs urgent medical attention because it could be a sign of breast cancer.
If you experience a recurrent milky discharge from one or both breasts and you are not breast feeding or pregnant, you should see your doctor. If breast stimulation causes nipple discharge, it probably is not a sign of breast cancer but you should still see your physician.
Possible Causes of Discharge
Red Blotches on the Breast
Some causes of galactorrhea include medications such as birth control pills, antidepressants, tranquilizers, hypertension drugs, pain killers and herbal remedies such as blessed thistle, fenugreek seed, anise or nettle. Certain street drugs like marijuana or opiates can also cause nipple discharge.
Thyroid imbalances, chronic stress, kidney failure, and excessive stimulation of the breast can also cause the condition. Chest wall injuries from surgery, burns, tumors and shingles are also common causes of galactorrhea.
- Some causes of galactorrhea include medications such as birth control pills, antidepressants, tranquilizers, hypertension drugs, pain killers and herbal remedies such as blessed thistle, fenugreek seed, anise or nettle.
- Chest wall injuries from surgery, burns, tumors and shingles are also common causes of galactorrhea.
How to Avoid Galactorrhea
Suggestions for reducing your risk of galactorrhea include not wearing clothing, such as wool. that irritates your breasts; avoid excessive sexual stimulation of your nipples; eschew illegal street drugs; and perform a breast self-exam no more frequently than monthly. Speak to your doctor about possible substitutes for medications you take that may cause galactorrhea.
Menopause and Nipple Soreness
Red Blotches on the Breast
Causes of Armpit Pain and Swollen Breast
Causes of Itching Breasts
What Is Bilateral Gynecomastia?
Causes of Sagging Breasts in Teenagers and Young Women
Exercises to Prevent Breast Inversion
What Are the Causes of Painful Ejaculation?
Saw Palmetto Dose for Facial Hair in Women
Causes of External Vaginal Itching
- TeenHealthfx: Breasts and Nipples Health Questions
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Galactorrhea
- Mayo Clinic: Galactorrhea
- Sajadi-Ernazarova KR, Sugumar K, Adigun R. Breast Nipple Discharge. [Updated 2019 Sep 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
- Mazzarello S, Arnaout A. Nipple discharge. CMAJ. 2015;187(8):599. doi:10.1503/cmaj.140633
- de Paula IB, Campos AM. Breast imaging in patients with nipple discharge. Radiol Bras. 2017;50(6):383–388. doi:10.1590/0100-3984.2016.0103
- Barry M. Nipple Discharge. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 175.
- Parthasarathy V, Rathnam U. Nipple discharge: an early warning sign of breast cancer. Int J Prev Med. 2012;3(11):810–814.
- Zervoudis S, Iatrakis G, Economides P, Polyzos D, Navrozoglou I. Nipple discharge screening. Womens Health (Lond). 2010;6(1):135-51.
- Boakes E, Woods A, Johnson N, Kadoglou N. Breast Infection: A Review of Diagnosis and Management Practices. Eur J Breast Health. 2018;14(3):136–143. Published 2018 Jul 1. doi:10.5152/ejbh.2018.3871
- Radojković D, Antić S, Pesić M, et al. [Significance of hyperprolactinemia for cytomorphologic features of breast secretions]. Vojnosanit Pregl. 2010;67(1):42-7.
- Richards T, Hunt A, Courtney S, Umeh H. Nipple discharge: a sign of breast cancer?. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2007;89(2):124–126. doi:10.1308/003588407X155491
- Sakorafas GH. Nipple discharge: current diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Cancer Treat Rev. 2001;27(5):275-82.
- Bryant J, Thistle J. Anatomy, Colostrum. [Updated 2019 Jun 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
- Wood K, Cameron M, Fitzgerald K. Breast size, bra fit and thoracic pain in young women: a correlational study. Chiropr Osteopat. 2008;16:1. Published 2008 Mar 13. doi:10.1186/1746-1340-16-1
- Pruthi S, Bundrick JB, Litin SC. Clinical Pearls in breast disease. Mayo Clin Proc. 2012;87(10):1015–1020. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2012.07.003
- Abdelhadi MS, Bukharie HA. Breast infections in non-lactating women. J Family Community Med. 2005;12(3):133–137.
- Cong Y, Zou H, Qiao G, et al. Bilateral mammary duct ectasia induced by sulpiride-associated hyperprolactinemia: A case report. Oncol Lett. 2015;9(5):2181–2184. doi:10.3892/ol.2015.3034
- Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: Revised, Updated and Expanded for Integrated Care. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. Session 12, BREAST AND NIPPLE CONDITIONS.
- Lamont JP, Dultz RP, Kuhn JA, Grant MD, Jones RC. Galactography in patients with nipple discharge. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2000;13(3):214–216. doi:10.1080/08998280.2000.11927676
- Thapa S, Bhusal K. Hyperprolactinemia. [Updated 2019 May 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
- Majumdar A, Mangal NS. Hyperprolactinemia. J Hum Reprod Sci. 2013;6(3):168–175. doi:10.4103/0974-1208.121400
- Li A, Kirk L. Intraductal Papilloma. [Updated 2019 Mar 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
- Ingle SB, Murdeshwar HG, Siddiqui S. Papillary carcinoma of breast: Minireview. World J Clin Cases. 2016;4(1):20–24. doi:10.12998/wjcc.v4.i1.20
- Cho N, Moon WK, Chung SY, et al. Ductographic findings of breast cancer. Korean J Radiol. 2005;6(1):31–36. doi:10.3348/kjr.2005.6.1.31
- Morrogh M, King TA. The significance of nipple discharge of the male breast. Breast J. 2009;15(6):632-8.
- Molitch ME. Diagnosis and Treatment of Pituitary Adenomas: A Review. JAMA. 2017. 317(5):516-524. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19699
- National Cancer Institute. Paget Disease of the Breast. cancer.gov April 10, 2012
- Weimann E. Clinical management of nipple discharge in neonates and children. J Paediatr Child Health. 2003;39(2):155-6.
- Moriarty AT, Schwartz MR, Laucirica R, et al. Cytology of spontaneous nipple discharge--is it worth it? Performance of nipple discharge preparations in the College of American Pathologists Interlaboratory Comparison Program in Nongynecologic Cytopathology. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2013;137(8):1039-42.
- Abet L, Rohde W, Gronke G. Serum prolactin levels before and after galactography in patients with pathological nipple discharge. Exp Clin Endocrinol. 1984;84(3):360-3.
- Leis HP, Greene FL, Cammarata A, Hilfer SE. Nipple discharge: surgical significance. South Med J. 1988;81(1):20-6.
- Bahl M, Baker JA, Greenup RA, Ghate SV. Diagnostic Value of Ultrasound in Female Patients With Nipple Discharge. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2015;205(1):203-8.
- Dawes LG, Bowen C, Venta LA, Morrow M. Ductography for nipple discharge: no replacement for ductal excision. Surgery. 1998;124(4):685-91.
- Dennis MA, Parker S, Kaske TI, Stavros AT, Camp J. Incidental treatment of nipple discharge caused by benign intraductal papilloma through diagnostic Mammotome biopsy. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2000;174(5):1263-8.
- Gray RJ, Pockaj BA, Karstaedt PJ. Navigating murky waters: a modern treatment algorithm for nipple discharge. Am J Surg. 2007;194(6):850-4.
- Tatarian T, Sokas C, Rufail M, et al. Intraductal Papilloma with Benign Pathology on Breast Core Biopsy: To Excise or Not?. Ann Surg Oncol. 2016;23(8):2501-7.
- Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. "Comprehensive Gynecology." Seventh edition. Elsevier; 2017.
- Love, Susan. "Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book." Sixth edition. Hachette Book Group; 2015.
- Morrogh M and King T. The Significance of Discharge of the Male Breast. The Breast Journal. 2009. 15(6):632-638. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4741.2009.00818.x
- Parthasarathy Veda and Rathnam Usharani. Nipple Discharge: An Early Warning Sign of Breast Cancer. Int J Prev Med. 2012 Nov; 3(11): 810-814.
Robert Miskimon is an experienced newsman and public relations/marketing professional. Miskimon is also a published novelist and freelance writer for a variety of media. He works with clients from concept, to planning, to final product, then to publication. Miskimon has received a national healthcare marketing award as well as two newspaper writing awards.