Once the cause of your nipple discharge is found, your doctor or nurse can recommend ways to treat it. You may:
Need to change any medicine that caused the discharge
Have lumps removed
Have all or some of the breast ducts removed
Receive creams to treat skin changes around the nipple
Receive medicines to treat an underlying health condition
If all of your tests are normal, may not need treatment. You should have another mammogram and physical exam within 1 year.
In most cases, nipple problems are not breast cancer. These problems will either go away with the right treatment, or they can be watched closely over time.
Nipple discharge may be a symptom of breast cancer or a pituitary tumor.
Skin changes around the nipple may be caused by Paget's disease.
Calling your health care provider
If you are a man and have nipple discharge, make an appointment with your doctor or nurse right away.
Melmed S, Kleinberg D, Ho K. Pituitary physiology and diagnostic evaluation. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, KronenbergHM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 8.
Katz VL, Dotters D. Breast diseases: diagnosis and treatmentof benign and malignant disease. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL,eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap15.
Leitch AM, Ashfag R. Discharges and secretions of the nipple. In: Bland KI, Copeland EM III, eds. The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Disorders. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 4.
Gray RJ, Pockaj BA, Karstaedt PJ. Navigating murky waters: a modern treatment algorithm for nipple discharge. Am J Surg. 2007;194:850-854.
David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc. Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine.