Hey, ladies, do you see any fluid coming out of your breasts? Does it look like milk? Are you wondering if your breasts are producing milk? Did you check in case you are pregnant? Do not worry. Keep reading. You will get to know you are not alone; many people out there in the world are facing this situation. You will also get to see why this happens, what are the Causes of lactation without pregnancy how to see if it is just a chance or a big problem underneath. You will also get to know what to do if such situation appears when to consult the doctors, what are some methods of diagnosis and how to treat it.
What is Lactation?
Lactation is the process of production of milk from mammary glands in females. These are present at the time of birth; soon they start to develop as soon as the female reaches its puberty period. But they do not produce milk. Milk is generated immediately after the birth of the child. There is fatty tissue in the breast within which human milk is secreted. When a new baby takes delivery, a hormone called oxytocin is released. This hormone is responsible for stimulation of uterine contractions and beginning of lactation process. At the very beginning, there is a secretion of very special fluid called colostrum. This yellow looking fluid is rich in all kinds of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, fats and importantly antibodies. It saves the child from any infection and keeps him healthy. Researchers have observed that the newborns that are breastfed are very less prone to diseases like diarrhea, allergies, etc. Later on, milk is produced, that is lactation begins (16 weeks after pregnancy, when a pregnancy could not progress). The hormone called prolactin is responsible for milk production. There are other hormones as well that controls the amount of milk coming out of breasts. Oxytocin helps in milk release, while estrogens and progesterone can have effects that inhibit lactation.
Sometimes milk is produced among women even when she is not pregnant. This situation is called galactorrhea. In the coming line, you will see what are the Causes of lactation without pregnancy, its symptoms, its diagnosis, and treatment.
What is Galactorrhea?
It is pronounced as guh-lack-toe-ree-uh. It is a situation of milky discharge from nipples other than regular milk release (as in the case of pregnancy and childbirth).
- The secretion may be Intermittent.
- The secretion may be Persistent.
- The secretion may be Scant.
- The secretion may be Abundant.
- The secretion may be free-flowing.
- It can be unilateral that is only from one breast.
- It can be bilateral that is from both breasts.
It is more commonly seen among the women who lie in the age group of 20-35 years. It can be seen among women who never had babies or sometimes after menopause. It is also observed in men and sometimes even in infants, but chances are sporadic.
Causes of Lactation without Pregnancy
Many times the object can’t be determined that has caused galactorrhea. The condition gets resolved on its own. Pinpointing any particular reason is difficult. One of the main reasons due to which Galactorrhea occurs when there is an increase in the level of milk production stimulating a hormone called prolactin. Some of the other ideas are:
- Existing medical issues.
- Wrong medications.
- Presence of a tumor.
- Hormonal imbalances.
- Excess stimulation of nipples.
Medicines that Can Cause Galactorrhea
- Antipsychotics – used to treat delusions, schizophrenia, hallucinations on any disordered thought.
- Antidepressants – used to cure anxiety disorders, chronic or neuropathic pain, migraine, obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- birth control – Birth control pills may result in disturbing the balance of your hormones.
- heartburn medications.
- Some painkillers.
- Some medicines of blood pressure.
- Medications that are full of hormones.
Intake of such medications increases the secretion of prolactin, the hormone responsible for the production of milk.
- Thyroid disorders.
- Chronic renal failure.
- A tumor.
- Any disease of kidney or liver.
- Stress for a very long duration.
- Disease of the hypothalamus.
- Elevation in the levels of estrogen among newborn.
- Any damage caused to breast tissue.
Usage of Drugs
It is widely known that addiction of the drug is a nasty habit. If you are using any of the drugs like marijuana or opium or cocaine, you should tell the doctor about. The doctor would also like to know the duration for which you have been taken drugs. Don’t be shy to say. Once the doctor knows about it, he will treat it accordingly.
Breast Stimulation It can be caused by:
- Excess stimulation that happens during sexual activity.
- If you do self-exams of breast frequently (Doing it daily can overdo it).
- If you wear rough clothes that often rubs against your nipples. It clothes like rough woolen clothes that scratch you while you are wearing it, bras that are of the wrong size and do not fit properly.
Besides production of milk from one or both the breasts, there are other symptoms of galactorrhea.
- Leaking of nipples occurs at random.
- Periods are irregular or entirely
- Breast tissue becomes large.
- Your urge to do sex is lowered or wholly
- Acne can be one of the reasons.
- Your hair growth more than usual.
- You face frequent headaches.
- You find trouble with your vision.
Diagnosis of Lactation, in Case You are not Pregnant
First, you should make sure that you are not pregnant. Check the date when you got periods last time. If any good news is waiting at your doorstep, then no need to worry, leave all worries as enjoy. Otherwise carefully monitor the amount of fluid coming out, its color, nature of the flow whether it is intermittent or excessive and location from where the secretion is done. Treatment for lactation without pregnancy depends on the cause of it. It may be possible that there is only a leakage not any possibility of galactorrhea. Therefore answer every question of your doctor will complete honesty. If there is a medical history in your family, tell it to your doctor. A few tests and information given by you to your doctor can help to determine the right cause of leaky nipples. A physical breast exam can do additional help to the doctor. Some of the discharge may be asked for laboratory examinations.
You might have to perform some other tests like:
- Pregnancy test is required to test any presence of pregnancy.
- A blood test may be necessary to check the balance of hormone levels.
- Mammogram (test of mammary glands like an x-ray) or ultrasound is needed to review any modifications in breast tissue.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is necessary to verify the brain tumors or any problem with the pituitary gland.
Treatment for Lactating When You’re not Pregnant
Once the Causes of lactation without pregnancy is determined, your doctor will recommend treatment.
- You can take some actions own, for example, try to avoid tight clothes and reduce the stimulation of nipple during your sexual activities.
- There are some other treatments as well that need to be performed under the supervision of your doctor.For example change of medicines (like using another antidepressant or blood pressure tablet or finding any alteration to medicines that you are taking to regulate hormones).
- Stop or modify antipsychotic medications.
- Stop marijuana, opiates or any other drugs.
- Limit nipple stimulation.
- In case of detection of problems with the pituitary gland or a tumor, you might have to undergo more tests or surgery.
Follow your medicines dutifully. Medications can bring down high prolactin productions. Even after medications if lactation does not stop, do not bother. Doctors say that it will take a few months to stop lactation, even after you have discontinued the medication.
Many Causes of lactation without pregnancy are out of control, like tumors or family problems or other medical conditions. There are some things that we can do to reduce the possibilities of lactating while not pregnant. Some of them are:
- Avoid bras or woolen clothes or any other tight clothes that irritate or continuously brush your nipples.
- Prevent stimulation of breasts very often.
- Breast examination once in a month is enough.
- Stop intake of drugs.
- Avoid taking stress.
- Try to maintain healthy lifestyle.
When to Consult a Doctor?
Most of the times galactorrhea goes away as soon as the Causes of lactation without pregnancy disappears.
If nipple discharge is due to excessive manipulation of the nipple or sexual activity, then no need to worry. There is nothing abnormal. Still, you can visit a doctor for evaluation.
If the milky discharge persists for a long duration, then you should make an appointment with the doctor. He will determine the cause and medicate it accordingly.
In case if the Discharge Is?
Non-milky or transparent, or yellow in color or bloody in nature. Then you should immediately get alert and contact the doctor. Also, check if you feel any lumps in the breast and any discharge from it can be a sign of breast cancer.
One simple key to prevent and avoid all this is to live healthily and avoid all worries. No such disease can touch you.