The sight of breast discharge is often worrying for women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. The common concern for women who recently had intercourse is that the discharge may be the first signs of pregnancy. Indeed this is one of the more likely possibilities but it may not necessarily be the cause. Sometimes the activities during intercourse may instead aggravate underlying breast disorders or even stimulate normal physiological processes that could lead to a discharge.
Discharge May Not Always Be Pregnancy
It is not uncommon for adolescent and adult females to be very concerned about any breast discharge after intercourse if they do not wish to fall pregnant. Naturally the possibility of pregnancy becomes the first concern at the sight of the breast discharge. As a general rule, a woman of reproductive age who has recently been sexually active should first test for pregnancy when there are any symptoms that may be indicative of pregnancy, irrespective of how vague it may seem. Breast discharge is one such symptom.
The concern is that the discharge is actually the first signs of breast milk. However, a breast discharge days or even a few weeks after conception may not necessarily be breast milk. The exact time when breast milk formation occurs during pregnancy can vary but it could be as early as the second trimester in some women. In other words, the breast discharge you may have shortly after intercourse is unlikely to be breast milk but even if it is not milk, it does not mean that you are not pregnant. Only a pregnancy test can confirm this.
Breast Secretion Without Pregnancy Or Disease
There are a number of different causes of nipple discharge. These secretions may not always stem from deeper in the breast tissue where milk is produced. There are times where breast milk is abnormally produced without breastfeeding or pregnancy. This is known as galactorrhea. The other consideration is when breast discharge is due to diseases such as a nipple abscess, duct ectasia, duct papilloma, clogged milk duct, prolactin-secreting tumors, thyroid problems and Cushing syndrome.
When breast discharge is not due to pregnancy or disease then the following causes should be considered:
- Physical stimulation with intimacy or for other reasons.
- Changes in the hormone levels like during puberty and menopause.
- Contraceptive pills and other hormone medication.
- Medication that could increase prolactin levels which may include certain antidepressants.
Apart from physical stimulation, most of these causes are unrelated to sexual activity. However, many women do not take notice of very minor breast discharge until the concern of pregnancy after unprotected intercourse, and conditions such as breast cancer become a concern. It is important to remember that breast milk can continue to be produced even up to one to two years after a mother stops breastfeeding. However, given the serious nature of some of the causes of abnormal breast discharge, it is advisable to seek medical attention once it is spotted. Early diagnosis and the appropriate treatment can drastically improve the outcome of any disease-related causes of abnormal discharge.