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- Hormonal imbalance, such as hypothyroidism
Some medicines, such as:
- Stopping or starting to take birth control pills or other hormones
- Blood pressure drugs
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Antinausea drugs
- Some antigastroesophageal reflux medicines
- Some pain killers
- Certain herbs, including:
Illicit drugs, such as:
- Sexual stimulation of the breast
- Certain diseases, including:
- Chronic emotional stress
- Hypothalamic tumors or disease (such as tuberculosis)
Chest wall conditions, such as:
- Surgical scars
- Tumors of chest wall
- In newborns, high levels of circulating hormones (estrogen) may result in enlarged breast tissue and secretion of milk.
- Sex: female
Wearing clothing that irritates the nipple, such as:
- Tight-fitting bra
- Frequent (daily) breast self-exam or frequent breast stimulation
- Abnormal or absent menstruation
- Heat or cold intolerance
- Disordered appetite, increase or decrease in weight
- Increased thirst or urination
- Loss of sex drive
- Bloody or foul-smelling discharge
- Acne or abnormal hair growth
- Visual difficulties
- Impotence (men only)
- A sample of the breast discharge to look at under a microscope
- Blood tests to check hormone levels
- Pregnancy test
- Imaging tests to check for a pituitary gland tumor in the brain:
- Surgery—surgical removal of the tumor and nearby tissues, considered when medicines fail
- Radiation Therapy (or radiotherapy)—the use of radiation to shrink tumors. considered when medicines and surgery fail
- Avoid wearing clothing that irritates the breast.
- Avoid frequent breast self-exam; usually once a month is enough.
- Avoid excessive sexual stimulation of the breasts.
- Do not use illicit drugs.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.aafp.org
National Library of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov
Canadian Family Physician http://www.cfpc.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org.
Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Medical Information. New York, NY: Pocket; 2000.
Eftekhari N, Mohammaalizadeh S. Pregnancy rate following bromocriptine treatment in infertile women with galactorrhea. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2009;25(2):122-124.
Ferri F, ed. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2010. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2009.
Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsy KS, Larsen PR. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2008.
Leung AKC, Pacaud D. Diagnosis and management of galactorrhea. Am Fam Physician. 2004; 70:543-550,553-554.
Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org.
Rodden A. Common breast concerns. Primary Care. 2009;36(1):103-113.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -