Q. Could emotions cause milky nipple discharge?

Answered by
Dr. Sanjay Kumar Bhattacharyya
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 20, 2016 and last reviewed on: Mar 07, 2020

Hi doctor,

I got married three years back and I gave birth to a baby boy two years back. However, due to complications I lost my child in just seven days. I never had breastfeeding session with him as he was in NICU. But, sent milk to him through a tin pot for five days. However, after this unfortunate incident, doctor prescribed me few medicines to stop my milk. Soon my body stopped producing the milk. Meanwhile I was going through some emotional turmoil as separated from husband and my mother's cancer treatment. Since two years I have been living separately from my husband. Four days ago when I was trying to convince my husband regarding relationship, he messaged me that he do not want me back in his life. Till now I realized that something like milk is coming from my breast. Is this breast cancer? Or is this because of emotions about my baby? I am unable to discuss my emotions with my husband as he is not willing to listen. Please help.



Welcome to

First of all, I must tell you to relax.

  • A nipple discharge is not an uncommon phenomenon in non-pregnant woman.
  • A bloody discharge is serious. But milk-like or colorless discharge is often caused by minor problems.
  • Are you on any medicine like antivomiting or antidepressent? Taking these medicines could cause a discharge which will stop after stoppage of the drug.
  • Next, if you do not have those; yes, emotional turmoil and remote memories could cause nipple discharge. You are right in this aspect.
  • Though it could be physiological entirely, you need few blood tests if it persists more than two weeks.
  • You need to check thyroid hormones and prolactin to assess their status.
  • Meanwhile, wear tight undergarments and stop squeezing as squeezing will increase more milk production.

The Probable causes:

Stress, tension and medicine.

Investigations to be done:

1. Blood for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), T3 (triiodothyronine), T4 (thyroxine) and prolactin.
2. Mammogram of breast.

Differential diagnosis:

1. Hypothyroidism.
2. Hyperprolactinemia.

Probable diagnosis:

Stress induced nipple discharge.

Regarding follow up:

Revert back after the tests to an obstetrician and gynaecologist online.--->

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