Amelia Grant

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Author: AmeliaGrant

What Are the Causes of Non-pregnant Breast Discharge?

When your nipples leak milk or a milk-like discharge, you probably have galactorrhea. It differs from normal milk secretion that occurs during and after pregnancy. While it affects both sexes, it is more common in women between the ages of 20 and 35.

Seeing what appears to be milk pouring out of your nipples can be frightening. But it is usually nothing to be worried about. However, in rare circumstances, it may be a symptom of an underlying illness that requires treatment.

Galactorrhea symptoms
A white substance coming out of your nipple is the most common sign of galactorrhea. But the quantity of leakage that comes out of one or both nipples, either infrequently or virtually continually, ranges from light to heavy.

Other symptoms may occur depending on the underlying cause.

Causes of galactorrhea
Galactorrhea can be caused by a variety of factors in both sexes. Keep in mind that some people suffer from idiopathic galactorrhea. This is galactorrhea with no obvious etiology. It's possible that your breast tissue is simply more sensitive to particular hormones.

Prolactinoma is the most common cause of galactorrhea. This is a tumor that develops in the pituitary gland. It may exert pressure on your pituitary gland, causing it to create more prolactin, the primary hormone responsible for lactation.

Prolactinoma in females can also cause irregular or absent periods, decreased libido, fertility issues, and excessive hair growth.

Males may also notice low libido and erectile dysfunction.

If it becomes big enough to put stress on the nerves in your brain near your hypophysis, you may experience regular headaches or vision abnormalities.

Other tumors
Other tumors may also cause breast discharge putting pressure on the stalk of your pituitary gland, which attaches to the hypothalamus. This can halt dopamine production. Dopamine, in addition to managing your emotions, helps to keep your prolactin levels in balance by decreasing them as needed.

Other causes in both sexes
Many other conditions can also cause too much prolactin. These include:
- Hypothyroidism. It occurs when the thyroid gland does not function properly.
- High blood pressure medications, like methyldopa (Aldomet)
- Long-term kidney problems
- Some types of lung cancer
- Opioid medications, such as oxycodone (Percocet) and fentanyl (Actiq)
- Liver disorders like cirrhosis
- Some types of antidepressants, such as paroxetine (Paxil), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and citalopram (Celexa)
- Some herbal supplements
- Phenothiazines to get rid of parasites

Aside from that, taking birth control tablets alters hormone levels, which might result in galactorrhea in some ladies. Male galactorrhea may be caused by hypogonadism because of low testosterone levels. 

How is galactorrhea treated?
The etiology determines the treatment of galactorrhea.  However, if you have a tiny prolactinoma that is causing other symptoms, it may disappear on its own.

Other possible galactorrhea therapies include:
- Avoid drugs that may be causing the discharge. If you feel that a medicine you are taking may raise prolactin levels causing galactorrhea, consult with your doctor to determine if there is another prescription you can take instead. Just be careful not to stop taking anything suddenly, as this can result in additional unwanted side effects.
- Take medicine to reduce or stop prolactin production by raising dopamine levels. Bromocriptine (Cycloset) and cabergoline (Dostinex) are two common examples. These drugs can aid in the reduction of prolactinomas and other tumors. They can also aid in the regulation of prolactin levels.
- Prolactinoma or other tumor removal surgery. If medication fails to work or the tumor becomes too large, surgery may be required to remove it.

Most people with galactorrhea recover entirely once the cause is identified. Pituitary gland tumors are frequently innocuous, and medicine can help manage any symptoms they cause. Meanwhile, avoid doing anything that increases nipple discharge, such as stimulating your nipples during sex or wearing tight clothing.


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