Nipple discharge

Nipple discharge may not be anything serious, but it's important to get it checked.

Who gets nipple discharge

Nipple discharge is more common if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. But it can affect anyone.

Liquid may leak from your nipples on its own or when they’re squeezed. It can be lots of different colours, including clear, white, yellow, green or bloody.

Nipple discharge may be nothing serious, but sometimes it can be a sign of an underlying condition, including a breast cyst or breast cancer. You should always get it checked.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you have nipple discharge from either nipple

It may not be anything serious, but there's a small chance it could be a sign of breast cancer, so it's best to get it checked.

What happens at your appointments

If you have nipple discharge, the GP will examine your breasts or chest.

They may refer you to a hospital or breast clinic for further tests, which may include:

The tests are often done during the same visit.

The hospital or breast clinic should let you know when and how you’ll get your tests results. Some may be available that day. Others, such as a biopsy, can take several weeks.

Causes of nipple discharge

Nipple discharge has many possible causes.

Common causes include:

Nipple discharge can sometimes be a sign of breast cancer, so it's important to get it checked.

Page last reviewed: 29 January 2024
Next review due: 29 January 2027