Galactorrhea: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Galactorrhea?

Galactorrhea is a discharge of milk-like substance from the breast nipples that are not associated with breastfeeding after pregnancy. The milky white discharge can come from one or both breasts and the breast may leak fluid with or without stimulation. This condition mainly occurs in women. It occurs less commonly in men. 
It is often referred to as non-puerpial (not pregnancy-related) galactorrhea. It occurs when the body produces too much prolactin (a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain which stimulates the production of milk when a woman has a baby).

Recovery Time

Hyperprolactinemia should improve within 3 weeks and prolactinoma reduction would be expected within 6 months.


Diagnosis is done based on the medical history of the symptoms and physical examination. Other tests which may be ordered include:
  • Blood tests
  • Mammogram (X-ray of the breasts)
  • Ultrasound scan of your breasts
  • CT scan (computerized X-rays) of your brain to look at your pituitary gland and hypothalamus

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