For a breastfeeding woman, breast discharge should come in no other form than milk. However, for women who are not breastfeeding, any discharges from the breast is a cause for alarm. The discharges may happen while asleep or at any time of the day. Fortunately, despite the concern that women may associate with the problem, what is fortunate is that most discharges are benign and they usually do not indicate a severe condition that is a true cause for worry. Nonetheless, despite the fact that most nipple discharges are benign and considered normal, a woman should still seek medical attention in order to distinguish those instances when breast discharge may be a harbinger of greater infection.
Causes of Breast Discharges
There are different reasons why breast discharges occur. Most of these reasons involve physiological changes while others are caused by medications that trigger certain reactions in the body.
Typically, breast discharges in a woman who is not nursing looks like milk but is not really milk. It can be brought about by hormonal changes during perimenopause. In this stage, a woman’ health is in transition. As a result, breast discharges may happen as part of the body’s reaction.
Aside from this, the following are reasons why women experience breast discharge:
* Due to frequent squeezing. There are certain self-examination methods that require women to squeeze their breasts. This can cause some discharges from the breasts. The material discharged in this fashion is always benign. Despite the fact that squeezing one’s breasts during self-examination is quite common, it is now widely discouraged because it can induce the breasts to release fluids that are not a normal occurrence.
* Due to drugs and medications. Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy are known to cause breast discharges because they cause hormonal imbalances in the body.
What Should a Woman Do When Experiencing Breast Discharge?
Despite most information saying that breast discharges are benign, one should waste no time in seeking immediate medical attention. This is because any breast discharge—benign or malignant—is an indicator of something wrong with the body.
Most cases of hyperthyroidism involves certain abnormalities in the brain, especially in the thyroid glands. This is the case when the discharge looks a lot like milk, coming out freely. In this case, a woman should have her prolactin level checked because it could be an indicator that she has prolactinoma, a kind of tumor in the pituitary glands. When this is the suspected cause of the discharge, a woman will be asked to undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to confirm the suspicion.
In other cases, breast discharge is associated with breast cancer. However, this is not always the case and only a few cases of breast discharge lead to cancer. Despite this very low correlation, women should take no chances and submit to the required procedures to treat or eliminate the threat of cancer.
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