PuzzledCompletely Asked :
It has been 11 years since I had my child and when stimulated I still get discharge from both nipples. It comes out both clear and sticky and sort of yellow/whitish milky – both fluids come out separately from the individual pores and sort of resembles what I remember the colostrum looking like.
I have no breast pain or unusual lumps, no itchiness, and no tenderness. It does not leak on it’s own that I have noticed. There is a history of thyroid issues in both my mother and father’s sides of the family both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. I do not take any birth control medicines. I am not pregnant as I just had my menstrual cycle and have had it every month. Should I be concerned about the discharge I have?
This question was posted under the Causes of Breast Secretion, Nipple Discharge article.
Any response by the Health Hype team does not constitute a medical consultation and the advice should be viewed purely as a guide. Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your current treatment program. The information provided in this article is not an authoritative resource on the subject matter and solely intends to guide the reader based on the questions asked and information provided.
Dr. Chris Answered :
The fact that this is occurring from both nipples since you gave birth to your last child so long ago, indicates that it is hormonal in nature. Prolactin is the hormone that stimulates breast milk production and if it is persisting after pregnancy and breastfeeding, this could be due to hyperprolactinemia. There are many causes of hyperprolactinemia, one of which is thyroid disorders. Since you have a family history of thyroid disorders, it would be advisable to undergo the necessary thyroid tests.
Breast milk production in the absence of pregnancy is known as galactorrhea. It is important to note that regular breast stimulation, stress, drugs and injury to the breast can also cause hyperprolactinemia.
A breast infection is also possible and what you may be experiencing is a little pus although you would experience other symptoms like heat of the skin, tenderness and breast swelling. If it is a recurrent low grade infection or breast abscess, you may not immediately notice any of the symptoms mentioned. An abscess would have to be drained and your doctor may consider a culture of the secretion to determine the causative organism.
The absence of a palpable hard and fixed lump should not exclude the possibility of breast cancer. You should consult with your gynecologist and have your annual breast examination immediately. A mammogram would be necessary. A benign lump as with an intraductal papilloma may sometimes feel like normal breast tissue especially in a woman who has had children. An intraductal papilloma is one of the most common causes of abnormal breast secretions.
You do not mention your age but it is important to remember that the risk of breast cancer does increase with age so if you are experiencing any symptoms, speak to your doctor or gynecologist immediately. Remember that while you are not pregnant, there are other gynecological disorders that can have similar hormonal effects to that of pregnancy which could lead to this discharge. Do not get too concerned until you speak to your doctor. Often a breast discharge upon squeezing does occur and it may not be due to any serious cause. With that said, always treat any new breast symptom with caution.
Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on April 30, 2010