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Side Effect: Galactorrhea (Discharge of Milk From Nipple)

What is Galactorrhea (Discharge of Milk From Nipple)?

Galactorrhea is the spontaneous and unexpected discharge of milk from the nipple in individuals who are not breastfeeding or pregnant. It is caused by the overproduction of the hormone prolactin, which stimulates the mammary glands to produce milk.

What does Galactorrhea (Discharge of Milk From Nipple) look like?

Who gets Galactorrhea (Discharge of Milk From Nipple)?

Galactorrhea can occur in both men and women. Patients whose cancer is on or near the pituitary gland and patients with decreased thyroid levels because of their cancer treatment are at an increased risk. Medications that might be used as part of your treatment regimen such as metoclopramide (Reglan®) or prochlorperazine (Compazine®) for nausea and vomiting, or opioid pain medications for the treatment of pain can also cause galactorrhea in some patients.

How to prevent Galactorrhea (Discharge of Milk From Nipple)

Overstimulation of the nipples can contribute to galactorrhea so avoiding clothes that rub or irritate the chest and avoiding repeated stimulation in the nipple area help prevent galactorrhea from occurring.

How to treat Galactorrhea (Discharge of Milk From Nipple)

Treatment for galactorrhea depends on the underlying cause. If galactorrhea is caused by a medication your provider may recommend that you stop taking that medication. In other cases, your provider may recommend adding a medication such as cabergoline (Dostinex®) or bromocriptine (Cycloset®) to lower prolactin levels.


1) Gebauer J, Higham C, Langer T, et al. Long-Term Endocrine and Metabolic Consequences of Cancer Treatment: A Systematic Review. Endocr Rev 2019;40(3):711-767.

Created: June 7, 2024 Updated: June 7, 2024