For women who aren't breastfeeding, the sight of nipple discharge can be alarming. But if you notice discharge from your nipple, there's no reason to panic. While nipple discharge can be serious, in most cases, it's either normal or due to a minor condition.
What is normal and what is abnormal nipple discharge?
Bloody nipple discharge is never normal. Other signs of abnormality include nipple discharge from only one breast and discharge that occurs spontaneously without anything touching, stimulating, or irritating your breast.
Color isn't usually helpful in deciding if the discharge is normal or abnormal. Both abnormal and normal nipple discharge can be clear, yellow, white, or green in color.
Normal nipple discharge more commonly occurs in both nipples and is often released when the nipples are compressed or squeezed. Some women who are concerned about breast secretions may actually cause it to worsen. They do this by repeatedly squeezing their nipples to check for nipple discharge. In these instances, leaving the nipples alone for a while may help the condition to improve.
Based on your medical evaluation, your doctor will determine whether your nipple discharge is normal (physiologic) or abnormal (pathologic). Even if your doctor determines your breast discharge is abnormal, keep in mind that most pathological conditions that cause nipple discharge are not serious and are easily treated.