Reasons for lactating when not recently pregnant can range from hormone imbalances to medication side effects to other health conditions. The most common cause of breast milk production is an elevation of a hormone produced in the brain called prolactin.
Is it common to lactate when not pregnant?
Lactation is common after a woman has given birth, and it can sometimes occur during pregnancy too. However, it is possible for both women and men to produce a milky discharge from one or both nipples without being pregnant or breastfeeding. This form of lactation is called galactorrhea.
How can a woman lactate without being pregnant?
The only necessary component to induce lactation—the official term for making milk without pregnancy and birth—is to stimulate and drain the breasts. That stimulation or emptying can happen with baby breastfeeding, with an electric breast pump, or using a variety of manual techniques.
What causes breast discharge?
Nipple discharge is a normal part of breast function during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It may also be associated with menstrual hormone changes and fibrocystic changes. The milky discharge after breast-feeding will normally affect both breasts and can continue for up to two or three years after stopping nursing.
What does it mean when you squeeze your breast and white liquid comes out?
If your body is making too much of the hormone “prolactin” the fluid is typically milky and white. The medical name for this symptom is called “galactorrhea.” Reasons for yellow, green or blood-tinged breast discharge could mean a breast infection, a breast duct is dilated (widened), or trauma.
Is galactorrhea normal?
Galactorrhea itself isn’t a disease, but it could be a sign of an underlying problem. It usually occurs in women, even those who have never had children or after menopause. But galactorrhea can happen in men and even in infants.
What is a galactorrhea?
Galactorrhea occurs when one or both breasts make milk or a milky discharge. It’s not related to milk production in breastfeeding. The breasts may leak only when touched, or on their own. It can occur in women or in men but is less common in men. Rarely, it can occur in newborns.
How is galactorrhea treated?
Use a medication to shrink the tumor or have surgery to remove it. Try a medication, such as bromocriptine (Cycloset, Parlodel) or cabergoline, to lower your prolactin level and minimize or stop milky nipple discharge. Side effects of these medications commonly include nausea, dizziness and headaches.
How do you stop breast milk discharge?
Keep these tips in mind when trying this method:
- Wear a supportive bra that holds your breasts in place.
- Use ice packs and over-the-counter pain (OTC) medications to help with pain and inflammation.
- Hand express milk to ease engorgement. Do this sparingly so you don’t continue to stimulate production.