Bleeding Nipples

    • Brief

    • Bleeding from the nipples is an important and early indicator of breast cancer or of breast tissue infection. This condition is different from blood seeping from a skin crack common in breastfeeding mothers or bloody discharge from an infected nipple piercing.
      Any bleeding or bloody discharge from the nipple should be investigated immediately by your healthcare provider.

    • What are the causes?

    • Here are a few reasons you may experience bleeding nipples:

      • If you have an infection of the breast called mastitis.
      • You may also experience bleeding from the nipple when you have a nipple piercing or an injury to the nipple.
      • If you have a breast tumour this may also come with symptoms like changes in breast shape, colour or size and a breast lump.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • You may need to visit a health centre:

      • When you notice your nipple becoming red and swollen.
      • When you see pus coming out of the site where you have a nipple piercing.
      • If a high fever accompanies the bleeding nipple.
      • If you have a breast lump or the skin around your breast looks different, or your nipple looks like it is going inside your breast.
      • If the blood flows directly from your nipple like breast milk.
    • How to prevent?

    • You can prevent bleeding nipples by practising breastfeeding hygiene, like keeping the nipples moisturized, always cleaning up after breastfeeding or covering cuts with plain vaseline.

      A bloody discharge will require treatment from your healthcare provider.

    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-care Tips

      • Keep the nipple area clean to prevent infections.
      • Wear loose clothing and avoid tight bras to reduce irritation.
      • Take warm showers and not hot showers to prevent your skin from cracking.
      • Use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and discomfort in the affected breast.
      • Importantly, see your healthcare provider for a check-up as soon as possible. Identifying breast cancer early can save your life or at least reduce the severity of the disease.

      Medical treatment

      • Your healthcare provider may recommend some tests to screen you for breast cancer. If breast cancer is confirmed, they may recommend medicines to start treatment immediately or surgery where possible.
      • Your healthcare provider will provide strong pain relievers when needed.
      • Your healthcare provider may recommend medicines that can help treat an infection of the breast.
      • A professional therapist may be involved to support you and help you get the care you need.
    • Kulawa cares

    • Bleeding or bloody discharge from the nipples can cause fear and panic. It is best to have support from partners, family and friends at this time. Be open-minded and cooperate with your healthcare providers. They will want to discuss the testing and treatment process with you, depending on the diagnosis. Your healthcare provider may recommend a good counsellor to help you through this period and to discuss matters such as dealing with surgery and chemotherapy. They may recommend the use of cosmetic breasts after surgery in order for you to be able to dress properly and feel confident about yourself.