Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Breast Discharge

Get Email Updates

Related Topics

Breast Discharge Guide

Alison Beaver

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Breast Discharge – What Does it Mean?

By Dita Faulkner
 
Rate This

Breast discharge is defined by Mayo Clinic as a milky discharge unrelated to the normal milk produced as when breastfeeding. The medical term for this condition is galactorrhea. Scientists do not think of galactorrhea as a disease but as a symptom of one. Whether there is an underlying problem or not, any time you have breast leakage, it is always advisable to seek medical attention.

Symptoms and Causes

Galactorrhea signs may include the following:

o White, yellow or green nipple discharge with no trace of blood

o Spontaneously leaked or manually expressed nipple discharge
o Persistent or intermittent nipple discharge
o One or both breasts affected
o Absent or irregular menstrual periods
o Headaches or vision problems

But what causes it? According to the Mayo Clinic, any of the following may be the culprit:

o Medications, such as certain tranquilizers, antidepressants and high blood pressure drugs
o Herbal supplements, such as fennel, anise or fenugreek seed
o Birth control pills
o A noncancerous pituitary tumor or other pituitary gland disorders
o An underactive thyroid
o Chronic kidney disease
o Excessive breast stimulation, frequent breast self-examinations
o Prolonged clothing friction
o Nerve damage to the chest wall from chest surgery, burns, etc.
o Spinal cord injury

Diagnosis and Treatment

After you have made an appointment with your physician, because the real problem behind breast discharges can be so wide and varied, there may be a series of tests done. For example, a physical exam will naturally be done so your doctor can see any discharge, lumps or thickened tissue. There will be an analysis of the discharge fluid – to check for blood. There even may be a pregnancy test done to exclude or confirm pregnancy, which would explain any breast discharge. Other tests include a blood test, mammogram or MRI.

As for treatment, it definitely depends on the cause of galactorrhea. For instance, if a certain medication is causing this condition, recommendation will be to stop taking this medication or to switch it out with an alternative.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1635 Health

Changed

609 Lives

Saved

456 Lives
6 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do your teens have their own cellphones?:
View Results