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Nipple symptoms Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Nipple symptoms. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. When did you first notice the nipple symptoms?

    Why: to establish if acute or chronic.

  2. What nipple symptoms do you have?

    Why: e.g. nipple discharge (see nipple discharge), bleeding nipple (see bleeding nipple), nipple tenderness, nipple redness, scaly nipple, inverted nipple, extra nipple, absence of nipple.

  3. Are the nipple symptoms related to the menstrual period?

    Why: suggests benign mammary dysplasia (nipple discharge before the menstrual period) or due to oral contraceptive pill (nipple discharge more evident just before the menstrual period).

  4. Are you breast feeding?

    Why: an obvious reason for bilateral milky nipple discharge.

  5. Is there a recent history of breast stimulation?

    Why: e.g. sexual stimulation, mammograms, poorly fitting bra and tight clothes - may cause a small nipple discharge.

  6. Are you premenopausal or postmenopausal?

    Why: this will help determine the cause of nipple symptoms. e.g. in premenopausal women, spontaneous multiple duct green or brownish discharge, unilateral or bilateral, most marked before menstruation, is often mammary dysplasia.

  7. Risk factors for breast cancer?

    Why: e.g. age over 40 years, Caucasian race, pre-existing benign breast lumps, personal history of breast cancer, family history of breast cancer in a first degree relative, late menopause (after age 53), obesity, childless until after 30 years of age, early age of first menstrual period.

  8. Past history of breast cancer?

    Why: increases the risk of breast cancer in the other breast and also of recurrent breast cancer in the same breast.10 % of people with a past history of breast cancer will develop breast cancer in the other breast.

  9. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. causes of elevated prolactin hormone levels and consequent milky nipple discharge include pituitary tumor, sarcoidosis, hypothyroidism, renal failure and liver failure.

  10. Medications?

    Why: e.g. some medications cause an elevated prolactin hormone level and milky nipple discharge such as oral contraceptives, phenothiazines, hormone replacement therapy, certain blood pressure medications, certain antidepressants, certain sedatives and Methyldopa.

  11. Family history of breast cancer in first degree relative?

    Why: increases the risk of breast cancer threefold.

  12. Nipple discharge, if yes is it unilateral or bilateral and what type of discharge is it?

    Why: e.g. Bloody discharge may include intraduct papilloma (most common), intraduct carcinoma or mammary dysplasia. Green-grey discharge may include mammary dysplasia or mammary duct ectasia. Yellow discharge may include mammary dysplasia or breast abscess (pus). Milky white discharge may be due to lactation, lactation cysts, elevated prolactin hormone or drugs. If unilateral and watery or bloody discharge consider breast cancer, intraduct papilloma, Paget's disease, papillary cystadenoma or epithelioma of the nipple. If bilateral and milky should consider the various conditions that cause hyperprolactinemia (elevated prolactin hormone in the blood) or pregnancy. A bilateral bloody discharge suggests mammary dysplasia (chronic cystic mastitis).

  13. Nipple retraction?

    Why: may suggest breast cancer, benign fibrocystic disease or past mastitis.

  14. Extra nipple(s)?

    Why: An extra nipple occurs in about 1% of the female population and is an inheritable condition. Extra nipples are also relatively common in males, often being mistaken for moles. The extra nipple usually develops just below the normal breast. Less commonly, extra nipples may appear under the arms or on the abdomen.

  15. Inverted nipples?

    Why: Sometimes the nipples fail to elevate above the skin surface. Inverted nipples may make breast feeding an infant difficult, but a special exercise can be used to prepare the nipple for feeding an infant.

  16. Absence of the nipples?

    Why: This rare congenital abnormality may occur on both sides or on one side.

  17. Breast lump?

    Why: a focal mass in the breast with a bloody discharge makes a breast cancer almost certain. If there is a focal mass, fever and a non-bloody discharge should consider a breast abscess. Mammary dysplasia can cause breast nodularity and sometimes a discrete lump but this varies with the menstrual period and usually causes multiple or bilateral masses.

  18. Breast pain?

    Why: a unilateral bloody discharge associated with breast pain suggests breast cancer; a bilateral nipple discharge associated with breast pain suggests mammary dysplasia (causes discomfort particularly before the menstrual period and settles after the period).

  19. Breast swelling before the menstrual period?

    Why: suggests Mammary dysplasia.

  20. Fever?

    Why: fever or chills along with a pus-like discharge from the breast is most likely acute mastitis or a breast abscess.

  21. Eczema-like rash of the nipple?

    Why: may suggest Paget's disease of the breast or atopic dermatitis (eczema).

  22. Symptoms of breast cancer?

    Why: e.g. breast lump, usually painless ( only 5% associated with pain), lump is hard and irregular. May have nipple discharge or nipple retraction. May have symptoms of metastases such as back pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, headache or enlarged axillary lymph nodes.

  23. Symptoms suggestive of metastatic disease

    Why: e.g. back pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, headache or enlarged Axillary lymph nodes - may suggest breast cancer metastases.

  24. Itching or burning of the nipple, with superficial erosion or ulceration?

    Why: suggests Paget's disease of the breast.

  25. Symptoms of benign mammary dysplasia?

    Why: e.g. most common in women between 30 and 50 years of age. Unilateral or bilateral breast pain, tenderness, lumpiness and swelling, especially prior to the menstrual period. Symptoms usually settle after the menstrual period. May have a nipple discharge which can be various colors, mainly green-grey. Otherwise known as fibrocystic breast disease, cyclical mastalgia or fibroadenosis.

  26. Symptoms of mammary duct ectasia?

    Why: e.g. an entire breast quadrant may be hard and tender. A firm, tender, poorly defined lump may be felt near the margin of the areola (red part of breast surrounding the nipple). There may be a toothpaste -like nipple discharge.

  27. Symptoms of prolactinoma (pituitary gland tumor producing too much prolactin hormone)?

    Why: e.g. headache, visual field loss, menstrual disturbance, reduced fertility, bilateral milky nipple discharge.

  28. Symptoms of pregnancy?

    Why: e.g. missed menstrual periods, breast enlargement, breast and nipple tenderness, urinary frequency. Pregnant women may experience a milky discharge from the nipples due to an elevated level of prolactin.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Nipple symptoms:

The following list of conditions have 'Nipple symptoms' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Nipple symptoms or choose View All.

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