ABNORMAL BREAST SECRTIONS
The medical term for abnormal breast secretion is galactorrhea. A minimal amount of breast leakage is not uncommon after a woman has had a child, especially if she breast fed for a period of time. If the liquid is clear or white, it is probably milk. I can test this material in my office for milk fat globules, Occasionally, 1 will send a glass slide with this secretion on it to the lab, just like a pap smear, The slide is examined for any abnormalities by a pathologist.
There are other reasons why women get galactorrhea. A breast secretion is especially worrisome if it starts abruptly, is brown or bloody, or if it is in just one breast. Any breast discharge should be called to the attention of your physician. Some medications such as birth control pills, tranquilizers and some blood pressure medications can cause milk production.
A baby initially starts the milk production by stimulating the breast. It is possible to breast feed an. adopted baby if a breast pump used on a regular basis prior to the baby's arrival! Some other physical stimuli that can start breast secretions are infections, trauma a to the breast or overzealous self breast exam (say you think you, find a lump and you examine your-self twice a day for a month, you may begin to get fluid from the breast).
Two other significant causes of galactorrhea are a low thyroid or an over active pituitary gland. These two causes of abnormal breast secretion can also be accompanied by irregularities in the menstrual cycle. Both can be diagnosed with a blood test, and both can be treated. I can treat a low thyroid with thyroid replacement. There is also a medication called bromocriptine that suppresses the hormone that is responsible for milk production.
The pituitary gland is on the base of the brain and lies between the two main nerves to the eyes, the optic nerves. Over activity of the pituitary may indicate the presence of a tumor that can compress, those nerves and actually lead to blindness. Surgery used to be the main stay of treatment for these tumors, but now bromocriptine has all but eliminated this method of treatment by shrinking these tumors with a daily oral medication.
FRED CREUTZMANN, M.D. – CARROLLTON
972-394-7277 or www.DrCmd.com