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Women's Health

Duct Ectasia

11/05/2010

Question:

I am 56 years old, had a complete hysterectomy at 38, and have not taken any hormones at all for at least 7-8 years (I was previously on estrogen only). I went to a doctor and he diagnosed me w/ duct ectasia. I have had 4 sonograms and one mammogram since November of last year and they were all normal. My breast hurts---is this normal for duct ectasia? Should the fluid be tested? Is there any treatment for duct ectasia?

Answer:

Ductal ectasia is a benign breast condition. Treatment is usually focused on relieving the symptoms.  If your breast "hurts" and you have a discharge from your nipple, you could have an infection. You should consult your physician as you may need a course of antibiotic treatment. You could also try placing warm compresses over your nipple area; remove when the compress becomes cool. You can do this about 4 times a day. Some women find use of the warm compresses helps to relieve the discomfort and swelling. If you smoke, try to quit.  In addition to the other adverse health effects of smoking, it has been found to aggravate symtpoms associated with ductal ectasia.   

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Response by:

M Joyce Dienger, DNSc, RN
Assistant Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati