While duct ectasia usually goes away on its own, in some cases treatment may be needed.

Duct ectasia is a benign (non-cancerous) breast condition that causes a milk duct beneath your nipple to shorten, widen and its walls thicken. The duct may also fill with fluid which can cause the duct to become blocked.

Signs and symptoms of duct ectasia:

While this benign breast condition often causes no symptoms, it may cause:

  • A dirty white, greenish or black nipple discharge
  • Breast tenderness
  • Redness of the nipple or the surrounding area
  • A lump or thickening near the clogged duct
  • An inverted nipple
Mammary duct ectasia is caused by normal changes that come with age and thus commonly occurs as a woman gets nearer to menopause. Those who have had a bacterial infection of the milk ducts may be more likely to develop mammary duct ectasia.
If symptoms persist, you may need to see a breast specialist such as Dr van Schalkwyk for treatment. After a breast examination, a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy may be done to make an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, antibiotics or possibly surgery may be needed to remove the affected milk duct. Having duct ectasia also doesn’t increase your risk of developing breast cancer in the future, but it is always advised to be breast aware.