Galactorrhea (say: "gal-act-tor-ee-ah") is a condition that occurs when one or both breasts make milk (or a milky discharge). The breasts may leak only when the breasts are touched or with no stimulation. It can occur in women or in men, but is less common in men. A woman who has galactorrhea produces milk even though she is not breastfeeding a baby.
The symptoms of galactorrhea can include the following:
Galactorrhea has many causes, some of which include the following:
Sometimes the cause of galactorrhea can't be found.
Your doctor might order blood tests to check your hormone levels and to see if you are pregnant. Your doctor might also want you to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of your head to see if you have a tumor or abnormality of the pituitary gland.
Tests are not always needed if you and your doctor can figure out what is causing your galactorrhea.
Treatment depends on what is causing the galactorrhea. If a tumor is causing your symptoms, most tumors that cause galactorrhea are not cancerous. They can be treated with medicine or surgery. If a certain medicine you are taking is causing your galactorrhea, your doctor may prescribe a different medicine. In many cases, no treatment is necessary, and the condition goes away on its own with time. Until it goes away, here are some things you can do to help:
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff