Bleeding from Nipple: Causes, Treatment Bleeding Nipple in Pregnancy

What Would Bleeding from Nipple Mean?

Ranking third from the most common reasons why women seek medical help after lumps and breast pain, nipple discharge needs close attention. Normally, a woman’s breasts secrete milk when milk ducts and lobules are matured. In non-lactating mothers (not producing milk), tissues plug the nipple ducts to prevent expressing milk. During lactation, hormones that regulate milk production are produced in large quantities. Nipple discharge can be yellow, green, brown, bloody, or milky.

  • Causes of bleeding from nipple area can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
  • Most discharges are milky or cloudy in appearance, which is normal.
  • Watery or bleeding from nipple area is due to papilloma or infection, which is benign (approximately 90%), while the other 10% is caused by breast cancer.
  • It is good to note that most discharges are not cancerous.

Bleeding from Nipple During Pregnancy

Hormones that are responsible for making milk increase their production during pregnancy and lactation. Since the breast tissues require nutrients to produce more milk, blood supply to the breast is increased. This may lead to bleeding from nipple during pregnancy. Slight trauma can be a cause too. Small amounts are normal; however, large amounts of blood and tissue discharge from the nipples is of medical significance and should be seen immediately by a doctor.

Blood in Milk while Breastfeeding

  • A small amount of blood discharge is a condition common during lactation.
  • A bleeding from nipple while breastfeeding can also be caused by increased blood supply to the breast. Apparently some women do not notice it since breastfeeding is done by latching on, that is the mouth of the infant directly sucks the mother’s nipple.
  • A bleeding from nipple while breastfeeding can also be caused by a slight trauma/injury to the breast. A heavy blood discharge however requires medical attention.

How to Handle a Bleeding Nipple at Home?

A bleeding from nipple area can be fixed with some adjustments. Here are some pointers to consider.

  • Babies who are hungry tend to feed at forceful manner that could injure breast tissues. Make sure that your baby is fed on time. The right time to feed your infant is when they are awake. Remember that newborn infants sleep about 20 hours a day.
  • Allow your breast milk to flow before feeding by using breast pumps. Again it should be done at a speed of your convenience.
  • If you are using nursing pads, be sure to change them regularly. Microorganisms easily multiply in soiled items and can cause further infection.
  • If you are experiencing pain, you might want to take a pain reliever. Be sure to consult your doctor about this. Some pain relievers are expressed together with breast milk and may poison your baby.


  1. S B said:

    My baby had open heart surgery 2 days after birth. I have been pumping milk for 8 days and tonight there was a bloody discharge from my right breast. The bottle of milk from that side looked like strawberry milk. I didn’t save the milk. It occurred to me that if the baby was nursing I may not have noticed the ‘pink milk’. What should I do about the discharge?

    January 13, 2011
    • PUP said:

      Many times the bleeding from nipple occurs due to increase in blood supply to the breast during lactation. The other reason may be minor trauma to the nipple. Observe carefully next time when you pump milk, if there is a recurrence, and the bleeding is large, you’ll need to consult your doctor.

      January 14, 2011
  2. Les said:

    I am 28 years old female. I am pregnant and it is my first pregnancy and my nipples have started to discharge a yellowish liquid and my back hurts a lot. Is it normal and what can I do to reduce the backache?

    June 25, 2012
    • PUP said:

      Discharge from the nipples during pregnancy is common. In some women the discharge may begin early during pregnancy or in some women, it may begin just with delivery. It is body’s way to prepare for lactation. Secondly backache is also common. But local application of hot packs, enough rest, less bending and doing your routine work will reduce backache. Do not lift heavy objects.

      July 1, 2012
  3. DO said:

    My age is 21 and I am 12 weeks pregnant. Since few days my right nipple hurts and bleeds. Is it a sign of cancer?

    April 17, 2015
    • PUP said:

      Bleeding from nipple during pregnancy or otherwise should not be neglected. Although during pregnancy the breast gradually increases in size and if you are wearing tight fitting brassier it may cause soreness and bleeding from the nipple. The best way is to consult your doctor. He will examine your breast and search for any mass during the examination. He may also recommend a mammogram to rule out malignancy. The discharge may also be sent for cytology test to detect abnormal cells. Meanwhile if you are wearing very fit bra, opt for a new loose brassier.

      April 17, 2015
  4. NM said:

    I am 24 years old female. This is my first pregnancy and recently I have noticed bleeding from my breast. What can be the reason?

    April 25, 2017
    • PUP said:

      Noticing bleeding from nipple can be scary, especially during pregnancy. During pregnancy lot of changes occur in breast. It increases in size, start producing milk, becomes tender. But no pregnant women may expect bleeding from nipple. In rare cases blood can ooze out of nipple and it can be normal. The reason researchers suggest is increase amount of blood flow in the breast during pregnancy. This may change the dynamics of breast resulting in small amount of bloody discharge. Although this seems to be normal, you must always report the symptom to your doctor. A close clinical examination is necessary since bleeding from breast mimic like a symptom of breast cancer. Usually the bleeding occurs in second and third trimester. It stops as soon after breastfeeding starts. A close follow up with your gynecologist is always necessary if you have bleeding from your nipple during pregnancy.

      September 6, 2018

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