Medical Definition of Galactorrhea

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Galactorrhea: The spontaneous flow of milk from the nipple at any time other than during nursing.

Galactorrhea can be due to "normal" factors such as an unrecognized pregnancy, trauma, surgery, overexercise or one of a number of drugs (including amphetamine, cimetidine, female hormone replacement therapy, hydroxyzine, methyldopa, nicotine, narcotics, reserpine, antidepressants of the so-called tricyclic type, or verapamil).

Galactorrhea can also be due to "abnormal" factors of a pathologic nature such as cirrhosis of the liver, a false pregnancy (pseudocyesis), renal (kidney) failure, disorders of the spinal cord, or a prolactinoma (a benign pituitary tumor that secretes the hormone prolactin which stimulates milk production).

The word "galactorrhea" comes from the Greek "galaktos" meaning "milk" + "rhein" meaning "to flow" = "to flow milk." (The naturally occurring sugar in breast milk is called galactose.) Galactorrhea is also sometimes called witch's milk.

CONTINUE SCROLLING OR CLICK HERE FOR RELATED ARTICLE
Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors