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Galactorrhea literally means "flow of milk." It refers to a milky discharge from the nipple of the breast in someone who is not nursing a baby.

  • Galactorrhea may occur in men and women.
  • Galactorrhea usually occurs from both breasts.
  • It is not a disease, but rather a symptom that can have several causes.

Here at Boston Children’s Hospital, the Reproductive Endocrine Practice evaluates and treats male and female patients with a wide range of adolescent reproductive and endocrine disorders that affect reproductive function.

Galactorrhea | Symptoms & Causes

What causes galactorrhea?

Many different things may cause galactorrhea, including:

  • pregnancy (that may have gone unrecognized)
  • trauma
  • surgery

Certain drugs can cause galactorrhea, including:

More serious causes of galactorrhea include:

  • the presence of a small tumor in the pituitary gland (at the base of the brain)
  • hypothyroidism (low thyroid function)
  • liver, kidney, or spinal cord problems

Galactorrhea | Programs & Services