Galactorrhea is a condition that occurs in women or men who are not breastfeeding, in which milk is produced in the breast and this milk flows out of the nipple. In galactorrhea, which is usually caused by overproduction of the hormone prolactin, a milk hormone produced by the pituitary gland, many different factors can cause overproduction of the hormone.
What Causes Galactorrhea?
Galactorrhea, which often occurs as a side effect of medication, can be caused by many different psychological or physiological reasons. The most common causes of galactorrhea are as follows:
- Brain tumors that cause milk from the breast due to impaired secretions in the body
- Hormone medications used by thyroid patients
- Kidney diseases that prevent the adrenal glands from working or cause them to overwork
- Sarcoidosis of the pituitary gland
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Medicines used to treat depression, birth control pills or some blood pressure medicines
- Environmental factors such as stress, protein-oriented diet, too frequent stimulation of the nipple, sudden or prolonged hormonal changes.
Symptoms of Galactorrhea
The symptoms of galactorrhea may appear differently in men and women. The most common symptoms of galactorrhea are changes in the menstrual cycle, breast tenderness, breast swelling, male sexual dysfunction and visual impairment.
In the event that galactorrhea lasts longer than a week with the above-mentioned symptoms, the person should consult a doctor immediately, have the necessary examinations done and start the treatment process.
Since the blood prolactin value is important in the treatment of galactorrhea, the patient’s blood test is taken. It is also necessary to check the patient’s medication and check the milk glands. If blood prolactin levels are high, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to visualize possible prolactinoma.
After all symptoms have been evaluated, the patient is examined for tumors, pituitary and adrenal glands and for pregnancy. If the cause of galactorrhea is diagnosed as a result of the tests, the treatment process begins. During the treatment process, the patient is recommended drugs to increase dopamine, a substance that suppresses prolactin production. These medicines do not destroy the tumor, but they have a positive effect on the disease for as long as they are used. However, if the pituitary tumor is large and cannot be controlled with medication, surgical treatment may be recommended.