Ghaziabad, 23rd January 2020: Premenopausal women who are not breastfeeding may experience a condition where they produce breast milk. According to the doctors at Columbia Asia Hospital the condition may indicate high levels of the hormone prolactin in the body, caused mainly by some malfunction in the pituitary gland that produces the hormone.
Apart from women in the reproductive age, the condition, known as galactorrhea, can affect men and infants too.
“Galactorrhea is a symptom that affects nearly 24 per cent of women. A whitish or greenish discharge from both the breast nipples is the most common symptom of the disease and is usually has no association with breast cancer. Galactorrhea may occurs when your body produces too much prolactin, (a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the production of milk when a woman has a baby). Any woman who has had a baby, whether or not she breast-fed her baby, may later have galactorrhea. Too much estrogen in body due to birth control pills or an underactive thyroid gland can also cause the condition. Nipple stimulation due to sexual activity or sports activities such as jogging, can also increase prolactin production,” says Dr. Vinita Diwakar, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad.
Some of the other causes of galactorrhea may include consumption of drugs, such as Oral Contraceptive pills, some high blood pressure medications, sedative and antidepressants; disorders or non-cancerous tumors of the pituitary gland; opivid use violactinoma other medical conditions such as kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and tumours of the spinal cord. If the breast tissue is particularly sensitive to prolactin in blood, it may cause idiopathic galactorrhea – the reason of which remains unknown.
“In men, galactorrhea may cause testosterone deficiency or male hypogonadism and usually occurs with breast enlargement or tenderness (gynecomastia). It may also cause erectile dysfunction and a lack of sexual desire due to testosterone deficiency. If a woman experiences a mild idiopathic galactorrhea, a tight breast support may help stop the discharge by preventing stimulation of the nipples. In newborns, galactorrhea may be caused due to high maternal estrogen levels that cross the placenta and reaches the baby's blood. This can enlarge the baby's breast tissue, which may be associated with a milky nipple discharge, though it is temporary and resolves on its own. If the discharge is persistent, consult a doctor,” says Dr Diwakar.
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