How to Say It: gah-LAK-tor-ree-ah
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Galactorrhea is a milk-like discharge from one or both breasts. It is not from breastfeeding. The breast may leak fluid with or without being touched.
Sometimes the cause is not known. Some causes are:
This problem is more common in women. It can happen in men and infants, but it is not as common. Other things that may raise the risk are:
The main symptom is a milky discharge from 1 or both breasts that is not due to breastfeeding. Other problems may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Blood tests will be done to check hormone levels.
Images will be taken to look for signs of a tumor. This can be done with:
Some people will not need treatment. The problem will go away in time. Others will be treated based on the cause. This may mean changing medicines or have surgery to remove a tumor.
This problem may be prevented by avoiding:
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Galactorrhea. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:
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Updated May 8, 2020. Accessed July 23, 2020.
Hyperprolactinemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hyperprolactinemia. Updated November 8, 2017. Accessed July 23, 2020.
Vilar L, Fleseriu M, et al. Challenges and pitfalls in the diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2014 Feb;58(1):9-22.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Elliot M. Levine, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 3/12/2021