ABC Medical Center > Mammary ducts ectasia

What is Mammary ducts ectasia?

13:10 - 3 November , 2023


It is a breast condition caused by the thickening or widening of the walls of one or more breast ducts below the nipple, which can fill with fluid and cause sensitivity, inflammation of the breasts, and discharge from the nipple.

Mammary duct ectasia occurs most frequently in women between 45 and 50 years old, or after menopause. It usually does not cause discomfort and improves on its own.

Although the cause is unknown, experts say it may be due to:

  • Tissue alterations due to aging.
  • Tobacco use.
  • Inverted nipple.

Signs and symptoms Mammary ducts ectasia

Generally, there are no symptoms, but some women may experience:

  • Red nipple and areola.
  • Nipple that secretes whitish, grayish, or black fluids.
  • Nipple sinking.
  • Inflammation of the blocked duct (periductal mastitis).
  • Breast nodule.
  • Breast sensitivity.

Some mammary duct ectasia complications can be:

  • Hard lump around the nipple or areola, which may be linked to concerns about breast cancer.
  • Breast discomfort (burning, redness, inflammation, sensitivity).
  • Bacterial infection called milk duct mastitis, which causes, in addition to breast tenderness, inflammation of the areola, fever, and the possible formation of an abscess that may need to be drained.
  • Discharge of fluid from the nipple that stains clothes and may cause embarrassment.

Diagnosis and treatment Mammary ducts ectasia

The doctor will analyze your symptoms and medical history, perform a physical examination, and request various tests, including:

  • Ultrasound of the nipple and areola.
  • Mammogram.

Usually, mammary duct ectasia does not require any treatment or, it can be established based on your symptoms, so you may require:

  • Painkillers.
  • Antibiotics
  • Hot packs.
  • Surgery.

Comprehensive women’s health is our priority at the Women’s Center, so we offer services focused on women in all their chronological stages with the highest standards of care to improve their quality of life, through a wide range of prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and follow-up services.


  • Martínez-Medel J, Cabistany-Esque AC, Sanz-Asín O, et al. Ectasia ductal mamaria. Aproximación diagnóstica y terapéutica. Ginecol Obstet Mex. 2014;82(01):50-53.

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