- Pregnancy test; to be certain that pregnancy is not a cause.
- Mammography; to check the breast for changes and lumps.
- Blood tests; to check the levels of prolactin in your blood and your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level.
- Imagery scans; such as CT and MRI scans to check for abnormality or growths in or close to your pituitary gland.
- For pituitary gland tumors, surgery to remove the growths or radiation therapy to shrink the growth may be recommended.
- Medications that can regulate and control the production of prolactin.
- Stop all medications that contribute to causing the condition such as herbal supplements, opioids, hard drugs, birth control pills, etc.
- Avoid all actions that are likely causing the condition like wearing tight bras and clothes, overstimulating your breast, etc.
- Treat or control sicknesses or damages that may have led to the condition such as kidney disease, liver disorders, nerve damage, spinal cord injury, etc.
Galactorrhea is not a disease per se but can be a sign that there is an underlying condition. Some causes include:
- Prolactinoma or pituitary adenomas (benign tumors in the pituitary gland) and other benign tumors.
- Heightened estrogen during pregnancy that enters the placenta can cause an enlargement of a child's breast and milk discharge.
- Hypogonadism (low testosterone one level) in men
- Breast tissue sensitivity to prolactin (milk-producing hormone) in women.
- Hyperprolactinemia; excessive and uncontrolled production of prolactin.
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and other thyroid disorders.
- Birth control pills
- Use of opioids medications and
- Use of hard drugs such as cocaine, marijuana.
- Medications such as blood pressure drugs, sedatives, antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc.
- Herbal supplements such as fenugreek seed, anise, fennel, nettle, blessed thistle, etc.
- Continuous and excessive stimulation of breast as a result of sexual activities, self-examination, clothing friction against tight bras, etc.
- Kidney conditions such as chronic kidney disease.
- Liver diseases
- Nerve and spinal cord damage, injury, or trauma.
The main symptom of galactorrhea is the discharge of milk from the breast when you are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
Other symptoms may include:
- Amenorrhea; irregular or absence of menstrual cycle.
- Loss of vision
- Reduction in sex drive
- Dry vagina
- Hair growth of chest and chin in women.
- Erectile dysfunction in males.
Can galactorrhea cause infertility?
Yes, it can. The unexpected production of milk from the breast leads to infrequent or discontinued menstrual periods in women, erectile dysfunction in men, and reduced sexual libido in both genders and this reduces fertility in both genders.
Can stress cause galactorrhea?
Yes, it can. Severe stress causes a change in your body system which can lead to a high release of prolactin hormones resulting in a high level of milk-producing (lactation) in the body and galactorrhea can occur.
How can you prevent galactorrhea?
To prevent galactorrhea is difficult, but the measures that you can take to reduce the risk of developing the condition include:
- Reducing the rate of self-breast examination to once or twice a month.
- Reduce wearing tight bras or clothes that rub or scratch your nipples and compress your breasts.
- Reduce the overstimulation of breasts and nipples during sexual activity.
- Avoid taking medications that are associated with hormones such as antidepressants, sedatives, blood pressure drugs, etc.
- Avoid opioid medications and hard drugs.
- Avoid herbal supplements.
Can galactorrhea cause weight gain?
Yes, it can. Study shows that weight gain in pregnant women is associated with the level of prolactin in their blood. In galactorrhea, the prolactin level increases because it is needed to produce milk. Therefore, you can also gain weight.
What color is the milky discharge of galactorrhea?
Milky discharge is mostly white like in breastfeeding women. In rare cases, the discharge may be yellowish or greenish.