What is bleeding nipple?

A bleeding nipple is bloody discharge from the nipple of the breast. Blood coming from the nipple can be symptomatic of a benign (noncancerous) breast disorder. These disorders include breast tissue infection, called mastitis, and intraductal papilloma. The latter is a small growth in the breast tubes that move milk to the nipple. These tubes are called ducts.

Breast Problems Spotlight

Bloody nipple discharge can also be an early sign of breast cancer. These cancers include intraductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma. Intraductal carcinoma, also called intraductal carcinoma in situ, begins in the ducts. Lobular carcinoma starts in the lobules, or the parts of the breast that produce milk. A rare type of breast cancer, Paget’s disease of the breast, begins with inflammation and skin changes on the nipple that may result in bleeding.

Women who are breastfeeding may experience cracked nipples that can produce blood. Women who have undergone nipple piercing may also experience bleeding as the piercing heals. Any type of trauma to the skin of the breast can produce bleeding of the nipple area.

A bleeding nipple should be evaluated by your health care provider immediately. Seek prompt medical care if you notice bloody discharge from your nipple.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with bleeding nipple?

Bleeding nipple may accompany other symptoms, which will vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Certain symptoms that occur along with bleeding nipple may be early signs of breast cancer.

Breast symptoms that may occur along with bleeding nipple

Bleeding nipple may accompany other symptoms affecting the breast. These are related to benign or ma... Read more about bleeding nipplesymptoms

CAUSES

What causes bleeding nipple?

Blood coming from the nipple can be symptomatic of benign (noncancerous) breast disorders such as breast tissue infection or a growth in the milk ducts. Bloody nipple discharge also can be a sign of breast cancer. Women who are breastfeeding may experience cracked nipples that can produce blood. Women who have undergone nipple piercing or any trauma to the skin of the breast may also experience... Read more about bleeding nipplecauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jul 31, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases


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