Galactorrhea is a disorder associated with many causes and consists of the abnormal secretion of milk through the nipples of a woman without being pregnant. This discharge can occur in both breasts inclusive and can occur without the need for any stimulus such as squeezing the nipple. The color, composition, and consistency of the milk or liquid may vary. Galactorrhea must be differentiated from purulent (infection), serosanguinous (neoplasia), green mucoid (fibrocystic condition), and sebaceous (pseudosecretion) exudate.
In some cases, nipple discharge suggests such minor changes that it goes away on its own. Most of the conditions associated with abnormal nipple discharge are not malignant and are generally not cancer. However, it is imperative to know its cause when faced with this symptom to treat the disorder and stop milk discharge properly. In this FastlyHealarticle, we answer one of the most common questions among women: why does milk come out of the breasts without being pregnant.
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Why does breast milk come out without being pregnant?
Many conditions can cause discharge from the nipples. However, when the substance that is drained is milk and the woman is not pregnant, she is considered to be suffering from galactorrhea. This condition is more common in women in the age of puberty or menopause, and although the fluid that is drained is similar to breast milk, it can change in color and consistency. Galactorrhea is also more common in women who have been previously pregnant.
This disorder can cause discharge from both nipples without the need to squeeze them. It is a condition that can affect 20% of women with regular menstrual cycles and normal prolactin levels in the blood. Although less common, galactorrhea can also affect men and boys.
Causes of galactorrhea
The hormone prolactin is responsible for stimulating milk production in the mammary glands; therefore, any alteration of this substance in the woman’s body without being pregnant can cause milk to come out of the breasts. However, some women suffer from galactorrhea, and their blood prolactin levels are normal. Other causes associated with galactorrhea are:
- In 50% of cases, the cause of galactorrhea is unknown. In 25%, it is due to the formation of pituitary adenomas or prolactinomas. These benign tumors require an MRI of the skull to be diagnosed, primarily where the pituitary gland is located.
- Taking antidepressant and antihypertensive drugs or medications can also cause galactorrhea.
- Some people who prefer to treat their illnesses with natural supplements like nettle, anise, fennel, and blessed thistle experience galactorrhea as a side effect of consuming these herbs.
- Milk leaves the nipples through the milk ducts. Wearing bras too tight or the wrong size can inflame and irritate the breasts and ducts and cause nipple discharge without being pregnant.
- Kidney failure, hypothyroidism, and liver cirrhosis can cause fluid discharge from the breasts without being pregnant.
- Breast trauma, mastitis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and shingles.
- Stress and anxiety
Symptoms of galactorrhea
The main symptom of galactorrhea is white, milky fluid discharge from the nipples. The substance can also be yellowish or greenish. In addition to the clearance, the following symptoms may also appear:
- Delayed menstrual period.
- Absence of period for a long time without being pregnant.
- Irregular periods.
- Vaginal bleeding between periods.
- Severe headaches
- Decrease in visual quality.
- Decreased libido.
- Growth of body hair on the chest or chin.
- Sudden acne
What to do when milk comes out of the breasts without being pregnant?
Any change in your breasts, whether in their shape, size, or sudden discharge of any substance through the nipple, should be immediately checked by your doctor. Usually, when the release is milky and occurs in both breasts simultaneously, it is not a sign of any dire conditions. In contrast, when the fluid that comes out of the breasts is clear or appears to have little blood, it is usually associated with more problematic conditions.
You must notice if your nipples are secreting milk without squeezing them since this symptom will also help your doctor find a diagnosis soon. It is essential that you try not to touch your breasts to avoid irritating them and that you remember that nipple discharge is rarely related to the presence of malignant tumors or breast cancer. In general, it is always due to benign cysts or alterations in the production of the hormone prolactin.
It is possible to rule out breast conditions, and your doctor will ask you to perform a breast echo, an exam where he can take a more in-depth look at the composition of your breasts and the ducts that carry breast milk. He will also order blood tests and an abdominal ultrasound to look at your ovaries.
In some cases, the cause of galactorrhea is never found. The disorder goes away on its own, so it is essential to remain calm during medical visits and avoid unnecessary alarm.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why does milk come out of the breasts without being pregnant, we recommend that you enter our category of the Female reproductive system.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.