Although mammary duct ectasia often doesn't cause signs and symptoms, you may experience:
- A dirty white, greenish or black nipple discharge from one or both nipples
- Tenderness in the nipple or surrounding breast tissue
- Redness of the nipple and sometimes the surrounding area
- A breast lump or thickening near the clogged duct
- A nipple that's turned inward (inverted)
A bacterial infection called mastitis also may develop in the affected milk duct and cause inflammation in the area around the nipple (areola) and fever. Signs and symptoms of mammary duct ectasia usually improve on their own.
When to see a doctor
It's important for your doctor to promptly evaluate any changes in your breasts to rule out breast cancer. If you have symptoms of mammary duct ectasia — especially unusual nipple discharge — make an appointment with your doctor for evaluation.
June 02, 2012
- Non-cancerous breast conditions. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003180-pdf.pdf. Accessed April 24, 2012.
- Hari S, et al. Bilateral severe mammary duct ectasia. Acta Radiologica. 2007;48:398.
- Understanding breast changes: A health guide for women. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/screening/understanding-breast-changes/page1/AllPages. Accessed April 24, 2012.
- Rosen PP. Rosen's Breast Pathology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009:33.
- Guray M, et al. Benign breast diseases: Classification, diagnosis, and management. The Oncologist. 2006;11:435.
- Santen RJ, et al. Benign breast disorders. New England Journal of Medicine. 2005;353:275.
- Miltenberg DM, et al. Benign breast disease. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America. 2008;35:285.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 10, 2012.
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