If you have been noticing some discharge from your breasts, it is tricky to say if it is a cause if a concern or not. Sometimes leakage can happen for some very obvious reasons like you are pregnant, breastfeeding or are on some medication that can lead to soaking your bras. But other times this could indicate a red flag. Here we discuss some reasons for leaky breasts and when you should be concerned.
Pregnancy: First-time mums experiencing leaky breasts during the second or third trimester might worry about this symptom. But know this is normal and an indication that your breasts are making milk that would help to nourish your baby post childbirth. Most women do experience this during pregnancy.
Breastfeeding: You cannot avoid leaky breasts during this phase. As you lactate well to help your baby stay healthy and nourished, your breasts might leak due to excess production of breast milk. One way to tackle it is pumping it out and storing for next feed or offering your child a feed. To avoid embarrassment in public using breast pads to counter leakage helps.
Birth control pills: Though it is very rare some hormonal changes due to birth control pills can lead to some amount of nipple discharge.
Infections: Any kind of infection in the breasts that leads to abscess can give rise to some kind of discharge.
Blocked milk ducts: Post pregnancy, during breastfeeding some women might develop blocked milk ducts which happen when the milk is not drained out of the milk ducts and gets accumulated over there. This too leads to some amount of discharge from the nipples, while the breasts remain hard and painful.
Fibrocystic breasts: Not every woman might experience this, but some fluctuations in the hormones during menstruation can lead to fibrocystic breast change. Symptoms include a change in breast texture, pain, tenderness and lumpiness which could lead to discharge from breasts.
Prolactinoma: A tumour in the pituitary gland can sometimes trigger nipple or breast discharge.
Breast cancer: Leaky breasts can also be a sign of a breast tumour. So if it is a persistent thing get it checked with your doctor.
Thyroid problems: Hypothyroidism can lead to leaky breasts, they can elevate prolactin levels which could trigger the symptom. Other health conditions that could lead to the same are chronic kidney diseases, liver diseases and disorders of the pituitary gland.
Drugs: A side effect of medications that inhibit dopamine secretion (e.g., opioids, oral contraceptives, antihypertensives (methyldopa, reserpine, verapamil), antidepressants and antipsychotics could also lead to the same.