What’s going on? There’s a sticky clear fluid leaking out of one of your breasts — but you’re not pregnant.
“About 20 to 25 percent of women experience nipple discharge at some point in their lives,” explains Mylaine Riobe, MD, founder of Riobe Institute of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Riobe, board certified in OB/GYN and integrative medicine, is the author of “The Answer to Cancer.”
The Riobe Method focuses on the prevention of diseases, not the prevention of death from diseases.
It is normal for discharge to occur from a nipple when a woman is pregnant. But even then, she should bring this up to her ob/gyn.
“Nipple discharge in the absence of pregnancy should be evaluated by a physician,” says Dr. Riobe.
Characteristics of the Nipple Discharge
It doesn’t matter if it’s clear, creamy or milky, sticky or filmy or watery. Any fluid that drips or drains out of a nipple needs to be evaluated.
“Although it’s frequently not dangerous, certain conditions that require treatment can cause nipple discharge,” says Dr. Riobe.
“High levels of a hormone called prolactin, made in the pituitary gland of the brain, can cause nipple discharge.
“Tumors of the pituitary gland can cause high prolactin, as can other types of tumors.
“Certain medications can also cause high prolactin levels. Examples are antidepressants, certain blood pressure medications, anxiety medications, birth control pills and other hormone therapy.”
Breast and Other Cancers
“Breast cancer should also be ruled out,” says Dr. Riobe. “Other rarer cancers can cause nipple discharge. About 35 percent of nipple discharge has no diagnosable cause.”
Less than 10 percent of cases are caused by breast cancer.
The rest are caused by benign ductal disorders, endocrine disorders, breast abscesses or infections, birth control pills, fibrocystic breasts, overstimulated or injured breasts, the monthly cycle and breast feeding.