Nipple discharge in men

Posted by tobyisaacs @tobyisaacs, Thu, Apr 16 1:48pm

I am a 29-year-old dude in good health. I started having nipple discharge when I was 12 and didn't realize at the time that it was abnormal. The discharge is watery/milky in color and smells actually a bit like breast milk. It's always been a bit cyclical but it started to increase recently, so I went to a doctor and got a referral to an endocrinologist. He ordered a pituitary hormone panel and everything was pretty much normal. Testosterone was in the upper half of normal range, estrogen at the very upper end of normal range, prolactin normal, beta-HCG only slightly above normal. The endocrinologist said he didn't have any more ideas on what could be causing it and didn't think it was galactorrhea because of the low prolactin levels.
I want to emphasize that it isn't really a problem (certainly weird though); I'm just addressing it more out of curiosity.
The only medications I take are metoprolol and zolmitriptan, both for migraines.
I know nipple discharge can be a symptom of breast cancer; but considering that I've had this for 17 years, I think I would have died by now if that was the underlying cause. It can also be a sign of infection; but there is no inflammation and a 17-year nipple infection seems really unlikely.
I'm asking on here because I've already run all over the internet trying to find information. Almost all of the information concerns women, and the information on men relates to medication side effects or breast cancer. Could this just be idiopathic nipple discharge that isn't a symptom of a deeper problem? Anyone have advice on the next step to take after the endocrinologist?

Hello @tobyisaacs and welcome to Connect. I'm glad that you've been starting to look into things. It's good to pay attention to our bodies and better understand them, even if it's just out of curiosity. Is it just one nipple or both? Have you been to any other specialists beyond an endocrinologist?

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Thank you! It's always been both nipples, but there's more flow from the left side. I haven't seen any other specialists. I'm not sure what other specialist I should see. The endocrinologist gave me a referral to a surgeon, but I don't see what expertise a general surgeon would have in this. I'm planning to go once quarantine is over.

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@tobyisaacs

Thank you! It's always been both nipples, but there's more flow from the left side. I haven't seen any other specialists. I'm not sure what other specialist I should see. The endocrinologist gave me a referral to a surgeon, but I don't see what expertise a general surgeon would have in this. I'm planning to go once quarantine is over.

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Definitely keep following the advice of your doctors and continue to keep searching for information like you have been. From looking at nipple discharge info on Mayo Clinic's site (https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/nipple-discharge/basics/causes/sym-20050946), it looks like a laundry list of conditions that can cause it with many of them being from different areas, so it may be hard to narrow things down. Did this coincide with you starting to take your migraine medications?

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Thanks for the link. I looked at all of them and none of them seem applicable, but obviously I can't diagnose myself. The discharge involves multiple ducts (if that's what they are) on both sides, so I think that rules out some of the conditions listed like mammary duct ectasia?
The discharge started around the same time that I started getting migraines, when I was 12. I didn't start taking my migraine medications until 4 years ago.
Is it possible that nothing is wrong and this is just a quirk?

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@tobyisaacs

Thanks for the link. I looked at all of them and none of them seem applicable, but obviously I can't diagnose myself. The discharge involves multiple ducts (if that's what they are) on both sides, so I think that rules out some of the conditions listed like mammary duct ectasia?
The discharge started around the same time that I started getting migraines, when I was 12. I didn't start taking my migraine medications until 4 years ago.
Is it possible that nothing is wrong and this is just a quirk?

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It's definitely tough to self-diagnose. Being able to Google everything can certainly be a blessing and curse as we can get so much information it leaves us reeling and unsure. I think it's something you should definitely follow up with your doctor (when you can) to see where you can go from here. If you do get seen, or you have some updates, next steps or hopefully some relief and answers, it'd be great to hear from you again @tobyisaacs. Your experience would be very helpful to others who may stumble upon this post later to see they're not the only ones and learn from your journey.

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