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Galactorrhoea : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Galactorrhoea?

Galactorrhea happens when milk or a milk-like discharge leaks from your nipples. It?s different from regular milk secretion that happens during and after pregnancy. While it can affect all sexes, it tends to occur more often in women between the ages of 20 and 35.

While unexpectedly seeing what looks like milk coming out your nipples can be alarming, it?s often nothing to worry about. But in rare cases, it may be a sign of an underlying condition that needs treatment.

Galactorrhea (guh-lack-toe-REE-uh) is a milky nipple discharge unrelated to the normal milk production of breast-feeding. Galactorrhea itself isn't a disease, but it could be a sign of an underlying problem. It usually occurs in women, even those who have never had children or after menopause. But galactorrhea can happen in men and even in infants.

Excessive breast stimulation, medication side effects or disorders of the pituitary gland all may contribute to galactorrhea. Often, galactorrhea results from increased levels of prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production.

Galactorrhea is a condition where the breasts leak milk. This condition can happen not only to women, but also men and children. The main sign of galactorrhea is when it occurs without breastfeeding.

Generally Rare in Male and child, common in Female. are the victim of the Galactorrhoea. Seriousness of this disease is Low.

Symptoms of Galactorrhoea are :

  • One or both breasts affected
  • Spontaneously leaked nipple discharge
  • Nipple discharge involving multiple milk ducts
  • Persistent or intermittent milky nipple discharge
  • Irregular menstrual cycle or Irregular periods
  • On average, The normal length of a woman?s menstrual cycle is 24 to 38 days. A period usually lasts about 2 to 8 days. So this varies between individuals. When the length of the cycle is more than 35 days, or if the duration varies then it is called irregular menstruation or irregular periods.

  • Severe Headache
  • Headaches are a common health problem ? most people experience them at some time.

    Factors that lead to headaches may be:

    Frequent or severe headaches can affect a person?s quality of life. Knowing how to recognize the cause of a headache can help a person take appropriate action.


    Galactorrhoea can be caused due to:

    Galactorrhea often results from having too much prolactin ? the hormone responsible for milk production when you have a baby. Prolactin is produced by your pituitary gland, a small bean-shaped gland at the base of your brain that secretes and regulates several hormones.

    Possible causes of galactorrhea include:

    • Medications, such as certain sedatives, antidepressants, antipsychotics and high blood pressure drugs
    • Opioid use
    • Herbal supplements, such as fennel, anise or fenugreek seed
    • Birth control pills
    • A noncancerous pituitary tumor (prolactinoma) or other disorder of the pituitary gland
    • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Excessive breast stimulation, which may be associated with sexual activity, frequent breast self-exams with nipple manipulation or prolonged clothing friction
    • Nerve damage to the chest wall from chest surgery, burns or other chest injuries
    • Spinal cord surgery, injury or tumors
    • Stress

    What kind of precaution should be taken in Galactorrhoea?

    It is difficult to prevent galactorrhea. Identifying the cause can help you avoid the condition. To reduce your risk of developing galactorrhea, avoid:

    • Repeatedly stimulating your breasts and nipples
    • Conducting breast exams more often than one time per month
    • Wearing clothes that rub or scratch the breasts

    Treatment for the Galactorrhoea


    Galactorrhea is usually a sign of an underlying health issue, so it?s important to work with a doctor to pinpoint the cause.

    They?ll likely use a combination of the following exams and tests to make a diagnosis:

    • A full physical. Your doctor will likely see how your nipple responds to being squeezed, and whether that causes more discharge to come out. They may also examine your breasts for any signs of a tumor.
    • Blood tests. Testing your prolactin and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels can help to further narrow down the potential cause.
    • Lab tests of the nipple discharge. If you?ve been pregnant in the past, they may take a sample of your nipple discharge and examine it for bits of fat. This is a tell-tale sign of galactorrhea, helping to differentiate it from lactation.
    • Imaging test. An MRI or CT scan can help to check for prolactinomas or other tumors near your pituitary gland or check your breast tissue for anything unusual. A mammogram or ultrasound can help to identify any unusual lumps or breast tissue.
    • Pregnancy tests. If there?s any chance you may be pregnant, your doctor might want to use a pregnancy test to rule out lactation.


    Treatment for galactorrhea varies depending on the cause of the condition. In some people, it goes away on its own without any treatment.

    To manage the condition, your doctor may recommend:

    • Avoiding the action or conditions that cause the condition
    • Stopping or changing medications that cause the condition
    • Taking medication to manage the production of prolactin

    In cases where a pituitary tumor causes galactorrhea, the tumor is usually benign (not cancerous). If the tumor does not cause any other complications, your doctor may determine that treatment is unnecessary.

    If your doctor recommends treatment for a pituitary tumor, it usually involves medication to shrink the tumor or stop the production of prolactin. In rare cases, doctors use surgery or radiation therapy to remove or shrink a pituitary tumor.

    Possible complication with Galactorrhoea

    Some medicines used to treat galactorrhea may involve complications including infertility and vision problems.

    Sometimes a pituitary tumor causes levels of estrogen (female hormones) in the body to decrease. Women with low estrogen levels are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis (fragile and brittle bones). Your doctor may recommend taking oral contraceptives containing estrogen to decrease this risk.


    1 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/galactorrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20350431 2 https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/hormonal-and-metabolic-disorders/pituitary-gland-disorders/galactorrhea 3 https://familydoctor.org/condition/galactorrhea/ 4 https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/benign/galactorrhea 5 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17924-galactorrhea/management-and-treatment 6 https://www.healthline.com/health/galactorrhea