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Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor. Sometimes a woman's breasts make milk even though she is not pregnant or breastfeeding.
This condition is called galactorrhea say: guh-lack-tuh-ree-ah. The milk may come from one or both breasts. It may leak on its own or only when the breasts are touched. Men can have galactorrhea, too, but it is more common in women. Galactorrhea has many causes, although sometimes a cause cannot be found.
Here are some possible causes:. Tumors of the pituitary say: pih-too-ih-terry gland in the brain. These tumors are rare. They usually are not serious. Tests are not always needed to find out what is causing your galactorrhea. But your doctor might want to take a blood sample to find out your hormone levels and to see if you are pregnant. Your doctor also might want you to have an MRI scan of your head to see if you have a tumor. Sometimes galactorrhea will go away by itself. If you have galactorrhea and no other problems, you may not have to be treated. If galactorrhea is a side effect of a medicine you are taking, your doctor might change medicines or give you a different dosage.
Most tumors that cause galactorrhea are not cancer. They usually can be treated with medicine. Most people do not need to have surgery for a tumor. Already a member or subscriber? Log in. This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject. This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference.
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What is galactorrhea? What causes galactorrhea? Here are some possible causes: Some medicines, like hormones, birth control pills, antidepressants, and blood pressure medicine Herbal medicines, such as nettle, fennel, blessed thistle, anise, and fenugreek seed Street drugs, like marijuana and opiates Hormone imbalances Clothes that irritate the breasts, like scratchy shirts or bras that don't fit well Too frequent breast self-exams daily exams Stimulating the breasts during sex Tumors of the pituitary say: pih-too-ih-terry gland in the brain.
In newborn babies, hormones from the mother are passed on to the baby during birth. Thyroid disease Kidney failure. What s should I tell my doctor about? Tell your doctor if you have any of these s with your galactorrhea: Irregular menstrual periods Red bloody fluid leaking from your breasts Headaches Trouble sleeping Less interest in sex or trouble having sex Problems with your eyesight Increase in hair growth on your chin or chest Acne Increased thirst or urination. Which tests might my doctor want? How is galactorrhea treated?
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