Nipple discharge may manifest in several ways: some ladies notice staining on the bra or pyjamas, some others notice it as part of their regular breast self-exam.
There are many causes for nipple discharge: most commonly due to previous breastfeeding. Other causes include: benign duct changes/growth, thyroid problem, a hormone producing-type of brain tumour, or some forms of breast cancer.
If you detect nipple discharge, it is good to consult a doctor for a full evaluation: these are some of the things to take note of and report to the doctor
- did the discharge come out by itself, or only when you press?
- is it on one side, or both side?
- is it always from the same spot, or from several areas on the nipple?
- what is the colour? Transparent, yellow, green, brownish, red, milky?
- do you notice any breast lumps?
- when was your most recent mammogram (if above 40 years old)?
- have you ever had a breast ultrasound? if so- bring along the report to the doctor’s
Dr Tan Yia Swam will need to know the pattern of the discharge, and arrange for the relevant scans, and additional specialised tests such as sending the fluid for lab test (cytology). Sometimes, patients may need surgery to find out the cause (microdochectomy, or total duct excision).