Galactorrhea

Also known as: breast discharge

What is galactorrhea?

Galactorrhoea, refers to a non-breastfeeding person’s breasts producing a milky substance from the nipple of either one or both breasts. A relatively common condition, it can occur in both men (rare) and women, and uncommonly in infants.

Galactorrhoea is considered a symptom that can have many causes.

What causes galactorrhea? 

During pregnancy and the postpartum period it may be physiologically normal. However many tumors, brain disorders of the pituitary gland in the brain, systemic diseases like kidney disease and an underactive thyroid, endocrine problems and many others can cause galactorrhea.

Certain medications, herbal supplements and/or antidepressants and anxiolytics may also lead to galactorrhoea. In some patients no cause may be found (idiopathic).

What are the symptoms of galactorrhea? 

Along with the discharge from the breasts, galactorrhea can also be accompanied by:

  • Absent or irregular menstrual periods

  • Vision loss

  • Abnormal hair growth

  • Headaches

  • Acne

  • Decreased sex drive


What are galactorrhea care options?

The approach to treatment includes improving the patient's symptoms, identifying and curing the possible cause, helping the patient manage anxiety and stress and maintaining the patient's ability to fall pregnant.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 10/11/2017 11:06:10 AM

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