What Your Nipples Are Telling You About Your Health

September 2, 2015  |  
14 of 16

If your breasts are tender, your period might be arriving. If you feel a lump, you need to see a doctor. But what about your nipples? They have a lot to say, too! Here is what your nipples are telling you about your health.








If you start seeing hairs on your nipples you’ve never seen before, that might be a sign that you’re going into menopause.









Noncancerous growths

Also called intraductal papilloma, these are little growths in a woman’s milk ducts. If the growths become irritated, they might release a bloody discharge.






Breast cancer red flags

Nipple discharge is one of the many early signs of breast cancer. We are not saying that if you have sudden discharge, you have breast cancer. But since it can be a symptom, you should see a doctor immediately if it comes up.





Early pregnancy

In the first term of gestation, a woman might notice some clear nipple discharge. If you’re seeing this and haven’t taken a pregnancy test, it might be time to pee on a stick..






Late pregnancy

In later terms of pregnancy, the discharge might become milky and watery. This is perfectly normal—your breasts are preparing to nurse.








Prolonged pain in breastfeeding

Some nipple pain is common within the first few weeks of breastfeeding. However, if the pain persists for a long time and is unbearable, your baby may not be latching on correctly. That affects your baby’s health because they aren’t getting enough food.







Paget’s disease

This is a rare type of breast cancer that can cause your nipples to bleed or ooze pus. Your areola might also get itchy, irritated and bleed if you have this condition.






Chafing/Too much exercise

You might see some clear discharge if your nipples undergo a lot of chafing. Maybe you have an itchy sports bra and jog a lot.







Fibrocystic breast changes

A fibrocystic breast change is just the fancy medical term for changes in the breast tissue. This could be thickening of the tissue, or new lumps. It is not indicative of cancer, but can cause green or yellow discharge.







If you suffer from hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid), you might see a milky discharge. It looks similar to the discharge of a pregnant woman even though you’re not pregnant.







Pituitary gland tumors

This is another condition that might cause nipple discharge similar to pregnancy discharge. If you are seeing that type of discharge and know you’re not with child, see a doctor.







An infection

If you notice pus in your nipple discharge this could be a sign of an infection. The most common type is called mastitis and happens when bacteria enter a milk duct. This can happen even if you are not breastfeeding.






Mammary duct ectasia

This is a condition that occurs when women enter menopause. Essentially, a milk duct under the nipple becomes blocked and releases a thick, green discharge.







A cyst

If you see discharge coming out of just one breast, see a doctor right away. It could be the sign of a cyst or benign growth. But there is no typical reason for you to see discharge coming from only one breast.








If your nipples constantly itch, chafe, or are dry and flaky even though you barely workout and you moisturize, go to a dermatologist. You may just have eczema.

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