Most problems with nipples are minor things and are not dangerous to health. However, in rare cases, they may be the first sign of serious illness, so you should contact your doctor immediately.
If a small amount of white or green discharge is coming out of the nipple, it is probably milk, especially if it comes from both nipples. A discharge that occurs at any time in a man and in women – except just before and after childbirth – is a sign of the condition we call the galactorrhoea.
Whenever you notice a dark colored discharge (usually because of blood), contact your doctor immediately. Such discharge is probably a result of a small benign tumor (so-called papilloma), which can be removed by short surgery. However, the cause of this may be breast cancer. Your doctor will look at your breasts and take a sample of discharge (from the breast) for analysis. You may also need to go to a specialist for additional tests, such as mammography.
Inverted (or retracted) nipples is a condition in which the nipple is, instead of out, retracted into the breast. This disorder often occurs for the first time in puberty and usually affects both nipples. The disorder is harmless, although it can make breastfeeding harder. As we said, this disorder is harmless, but if you notice that your nipples have recently started retracting, you should go to your doctor as this may be a sign of a breast cancer.
Cysts and furuncle on areola
Areola is a brown ring around the nipple, and contains the glands that excrete the waxy substance to lubricate the nipple. If the gland is clogged, a cyst will develop. If the gland is infected, furunculus will develop. This type of a cyst or furunculus is definitely a reason to go to a doctor. Treatment is generally the same as in cysts or furunculosis anywhere on the skin – see the fatty cysts and furunculosis.