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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is galactorrhea?
Galactorrhea is a milky discharge from your nipples. When you are not pregnant or breastfeeding, galactorrhea may be a sign of other conditions. The discharge may leak on its own, or it might happen when your breasts are touched. Galactorrhea is more common in women, but it can happen in men and infants also.
What causes galactorrhea?
The cause of your galactorrhea may not be known. Common causes include the following:
- Breast stimulation
- Pituitary conditions such as tumors or Cushing disease
- Increase of the hormone prolactin
- A drop in the mother's hormone levels in an infant after birth
What symptoms are common with galactorrhea?
Symptoms will depend on the cause of your galactorrhea. You may have any of the following:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Problems with your vision, such as partial blindness
- Fatigue and weakness that gets worse
- Trouble sleeping
How is galactorrhea diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask what medicines you are taking. He will do a breast exam. In females, blood tests may be done to check for pregnancy. The blood tests may show changes in hormone levels or problems with your thyroid, liver, or kidney function. Your healthcare provider may give you a vision test. You may need an MRI of your brain to check for a tumor.
How is galactorrhea treated?
The treatment of galactorrhea depends on the cause. Your healthcare provider may have you stop taking the medicines that are causing your galactorrhea. You may need to see a specialist. You may not need any treatment. Galactorrhea can go away on its own.
What can I do to manage galactorrhea?
Avoid breast stimulation. Wear loose clothing, and do not squeeze or rub your breasts. Stimulation signals hormones to produce the milky discharge.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- Your breasts become swollen and tender.
- You become irritable and you do not feel well.
- You have severe thirst and urinate large amounts often.
- You develop dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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