Milk coming out of breast when squeezed not pregnant? See causes in this article

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There is nothing that can be more alarming than having milk coming from a woman’s breast when one knows this is not supposed to be.

This condition of inappropriate Brest milk secretion is called 𝐆𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐡𝐞𝐚 and it is of primary concern to young ladies who are neither pregnant nor have a baby and women who are battling with the challenge of getting pregnant.

The first fear is, “is this cancer?”. Not at all. In the absence of a lump or bloody or brownish nipple discharge the likelihood of milk from the breast being a part of a cancer of the breast is extremely very slim.

“Doctor am not pregnant. Why should milk be coming out of my breasts?” This is often the next question.

Now a hormone produced from a woman’s brain called PROLACTIN is responsible for milk production.

Once the levels of Prolactin are high the manifestation is inappropriate breast milk secretion.

𝐒𝐨 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡?

There are many reasons. It could be physiological (normal body response), it could be pathological (diseases) or it could be pharmacological (medication a woman takes).

For the physiological causes, the number is quite many. The first are related to 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠. Prolactin levels are increased by the baby’s suckling so as to sustain milk production for the infant. Also 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐤𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐚 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧’𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐝𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐲 can also lead to elevated prolactin levels and inappropriate milk production. 𝐅𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐞 also stimulate a woman’s brain to produce prolactin hence high levels will eventually cause inappropriate breast milk production.

For the pathological causes, the one of note which is quite common, is when the area of the brain producing prolactin swells up to form a 𝐓𝐮𝐦𝐨𝐫 which starts producing prolactin without control like an autonomous community. Hence this escape from central control can lead to extremely high levels of Prolactin and inappropriate milk production.

Milk coming out of breast when squeezed not pregnant? See Causes
Milk coming out of breast when squeezed not pregnant?
Image Credit: @Momentum

Some of the manifestations of this are dizziness, headache and limited vision because when enlarged this tumor sits very close to the nerve of the eyes and can press it to cause these symptoms. This condition is easily treated and often times surgery is not required to remove the tumor.

The other pathological causes are less important and rare like brain infections, trauma to the head, thyroid disease like goiter and kidney problems.

Drugs that can cause inappropriate milk production include some pain relief drugs called opoids, drugs that stop vomiting and allergic reactions, amongst others.

“Why is the problem very important?”
Every woman knows that breastfeeding offers some level of protection from getting pregnant and her monthly periods are delayed. This is all due to prolactin that blocks other hormones responsible for a normal monthly cycle.

Likewise for a lady desiring to get pregnant, high prolactin levels can upset her monthly cycle and cause infertility. The first step to finding a solution to this problem is attempting to express milk from one’s nipples.

Even a trickle of milky white secretions maybe a sign of high prolactin and maybe a cause of delayed ability to conceive.

One must present at the Gynaecologist who will reconfirm the diagnosis and search for the possible cause.

A hormone profile test will be ordered to make absolutely sure the right diagnosis of high prolactin called HYPERPROLACTINEMIA is confirmed.

Treatment is very cheap and simple. Drugs like bromocriptine will be prescribed which may have alot of unpleasant side effects like vomiting, nausea and bloating hence one must see a Doctor to prescribe it in a tailor made manner which will avert these side effects and aid compliance with the drug.

High prolactin levels may just be the cause of one’s infertility and it’s so simple and cheap to treat that it is indeed a crime for a woman to suffer in silence over this issue as she continues to toil for the fruit of the womb.

As for young ladies who are about to get married and are scared of not being able to take in when they get married hence present to the gynaecologist for a premarital check up which is now a new and interesting trend, a normal ultrasound scan gives some a level of assurance but a hormone profile too can help diagnose this underlying high prolactin level and although the test is far more expensive than the treatment, can one really quantify the joy of motherhood when weighed against the pains and frustrations of living in a childless marriage?

The difference is clear. I hope this information helps.

~By Dr Attah Essien.


  1. I have taken bromocriptine daily for 2months still my breast discharge are still there.after the drug my prolactin levels even increased.

    Then switched to cabergoline but still the nipple discharge is there .but recently l found out l have bilateral polycystic ovary. My doctor no more treat my high prolatin but just prescribed combined oral contraception for me.

    Am having hypertension too

    Ever since these conditions started


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