How often do you find yourself thinking about nipple discharge? If the answer to this is “never,” that’s okay. And, if your answer is “all the time,” that’s also totally fine. Nipple discharge is pretty much one of those things that you only think about when you have to, AKA when you, yourself, find it happening to you and immediately take to Google to figure out if it means that your end is nigh.
Now, to be quite frank, unexpected nip discharge can be a little scary. Discharge in general is kind of unsettling, no matter what, um, orifice it comes from. So, when it comes from an unexpected one, it can bring up some weird feelings. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that something bad is going on with your body. But what does it mean? To find out–and stop freaking out–check out everything you need to know about nipple discharge right here:
What do you mean, exactly, by “nipple discharge?”
Nipple discharge, per the Mayo Clinic, is “any fluid that seeps out of the nipple of the breast.” Typically, it’s white, pus-colored, or pinkish, and can either come out of the boobs through pressure from squeezing or on its own.
Does having nipple discharge mean that I’m pregnant and beginning to lactate?
Well, what does it mean, then?
In most cases? Not all that much. You have about 15-20 ducts in each of your nipples, each of which could be filled with fluid that could come out if you squeeze it. This is especially likely if your hormones are fluctuating (which is likely during puberty), have a breast injury, a breast infection, are on a new medication, or have been experiencing more nipple simulation than usual.
It can also sometimes be a sign of breast cancer, but, usually, that’s not the case.
What should I do about it?
If you only notice discharge when you squeeze your boobs, just try not to squeeze your boobs. I get that this is like resisting the urge to pick at a pimple, which can be hard, but most types of nipple discharge will stop if you stop squeezing your breasts. If the discharge happens on its own, don’t freak out–just start paying attention to the color of the discharge, how often it happens, when it happens, and if any other symptoms (like breast tenderness, a headache, etc.) go alone with it.
Is there ever a time when I should be worried about it?
Nipple discharge is not always a sign of something more serious. There are, however, some symptoms that go along with nipple discharge that you should be wary of. The first is the color of the discharge–if it’s bloody or clear, that can be a warning sign. The other thing to look out for is whether the discharge occurs when you squeeze your breasts, or if the discharge is spontaneous. Spontaneous, bloody, or clear discharge can be a sign of breast cancer or a breast infection.
Of course, as is always the case with all medical-type advice on this site, I am very much not a doctor. Because of this, I cannot tell you for sure what nipple discharge may or may not mean for you. What I can tell you, however, is that if there is any discharge coming out of your boobs, your best bet is to see a doctor. It’s probably nothing, but they’ll be able to assuage any concerns you may have once and for all.
Do you have nipple discharge? Do you have any other questions about it? Has the word “discharge” lost all meaning for you now, too? Let us know in the comments!