Source Of Nipple Discharge

What Causes Discharge From One Or Both Nipples?

Discharge from one or both nipples can have various causes, just like most other symptoms.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose discharge from one or both nipples, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "discharge from one or both nipples" as a symptom.  Here are two possibilities:
  • Male Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
late birth of first child
breast cancer in mother
itchy/scaly nipples
chronic non-cyclical breast pain
very early puberty onset
high alcohol consumption
low aerobic exercise level
drinking water treated with chlorine
almost-black nipple discharge
swollen axillary nodes
breast cancer
extended bra wearing
... and more than 10 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of discharge from one or both nipples:
Cause Probability Status
Breast Cancer 99% Confirm
Male Breast Cancer 51% Possible
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having nipple problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
If you have any unusual discharge from your nipples, are one or both nipples affected?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know / I am pregnant or lactating
→ There is no discharge
→ One nipple only
→ Both nipples
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either discharge from one nipple only or discharge from both nipples, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Breast Cancer

If the discharge is milky, and coming from both breasts, it may simply be an imbalance of prolactin hormone, which can easily be tested for through a blood test.

Male Breast Cancer

The chances of developing male breast cancer in both breasts simultaneously is extremely low.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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