Nipple discharge is the release of fluid from the nipples of the breasts. Although it is considered normal in a wide variety of circumstances it is the third major reason involving the breasts for which women seek medical attention, after breast lumps and breast pain. It is also known to occur in adolescent boys and girls going through puberty. Discharge often is the result of stimulation of the breasts or by irritation through clothing.
Initially, always an evaluation of malignancy is indicated. If no abnormality is found, then a sugical duct excision may resolve the symptoms. Treatment depends also on whether single-duct or multiple-duct discharge is present and whether the symtoms of nipple discharge are distressing to the patient. In some cases, there may be no need for any further intervention; in others, microdochectomy or a total duct excision may be appropriate. If the patient wishes to conserve the ability to breastfeed and only single-duct discharge is present, then ductoscopy or galactography should be considered in view of performing a localised duct excision.