Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
What is galactorrhea?
Sometimes a woman's breast makes milk even though she is not breast feeding a baby. This is called galactorrhea (say: "gal-act-tor-ee-ah"). The milk may come from one or both breasts. It may leak with no stimulation or it may leak only when the breasts are touched.
Men can have galactorrhea, too, but it is less common.
What causes galactorrhea?
Galactorrhea has many causes. Here are some of them:
Sometimes the cause can't be found.
Galactorrhea produces a white fluid. If the fluid coming from your breast is reddish, your doctor will check you for cancer.
What other signs should I tell my doctor about?
Tell your doctor if you have any of these signs:
What tests might my doctor order?
Your doctor might order blood tests to find out your hormone levels and to see if you are pregnant. Or, your doctor might want you to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of your head to see if you have a tumor.
Tests are not always needed if you and your doctor can figure out what caused your galactorrhea.
How is galactorrhea treated?
Most tumors that cause galactorrhea are not cancer. They can be treated with medicine or surgery.
In many cases, there is no treatment, and the breast milk goes away with time. Until it goes away, here are some things you can do to help: