Galactorrhea: Symptom and Causes


The primary symptom is a milky discharge from the nipple that is not associated with breast-feeding. The discharge can come from one or both breasts. Other symptoms that can occur along with the discharge include:
  • Abnormal or absent menstrual periods
  • Heat or cold intolerance
  • Disordered appetite, increase or decrease in weight
  • Increased thirst or urination
  • Bloody or foul-smelling discharge
  • Headaches
  • Acne or abnormal hair growth on chin or chest
  • Vision difficulties
  • Loss interest in sex


Galactorrhea has many causes, some of which include the following:
  • Tumors of the pituitary gland, which is located in the brain
  • Medicines such as hormones, antidepressants, birth control pills, blood pressure medicines and certain tranquilizers
  • Herbal supplements such as nettle, fennel, blessed thistle, anise and fenugreek seed
  • Drugs such as marijuana and opiates
  • Pregnancy
  • Clothing that irritates the breasts (such as scratchy wool shirts or bras that don’t fit well)
  • Stimulation of the breast during sexual activity
  • Hormonal imbalance (hypothyroidism)
Sometimes the cause of galactorrhea can’t be found.

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