Galactorrhoea is a discharge of milk from the nipple outside of the period ofbreast-feeding. The discharge may be passive or require pressure on the breast and may affect one or both nipples (uni or bilateral galactorrhoea).
While galactorrhoea is usually due to disturbance of prolactin, the pituitary hormone responsible for lactation, it may not be caused by any disease, nor by the contraceptive pill, nor (to a lesser extent) is it necessarily a sign of breast cancer.
Galactorrhoea is treated by treating the underlying disease (treatment of breast-cancer, change of pill…). If the cause is benign but the discharge continues, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics may be used. Alternatively, pyramidectomy or galactophorectomy may be performed, which involves excising the galactophore (the duct which carries milk).
Galactorrhoea is the secretion of milk outside of the period of breast-feeding. © Ken Hammond, Wikimedia, public domain