Leaking Breasts

Is it normal for breasts to leak during menopause?




During menopause, the body goes through a number of physical changes due to the imbalance of hormones. A drop in estrogen hormones can affect the breasts. The size, firmness, and shape of the breasts usually change during menopause due to an increase in the amount of fat in the breasts. The nipples may change as well, becoming less erect and smaller, and may even become less sensitive and not as easily stimulated. Estrogen therapy can help restore the fullness.


Leaking breasts can be caused by a number of factors. Typically, it is not a symptom of menopause but this doesn't mean that it isn't likely. Sometimes an off-colored discharge occurs in the breasts of women who are nearing or in the beginning stages of menopause. As long as there is not a lump on the breast or other symptoms associated with the discharge, it is probably normal.


It's not uncommon for breasts to leak even when a woman is not breastfeeding. Leaking breasts, also known as galactorrhea, can be caused by a hormonal imbalance. Since the levels of hormones are greatly disrupted during menopause, it is possible that leaking breasts could be a symptom of this stage. You also want to pay attention to the color of the breast discharge. If there is any blood in the leakage you should see your doctor immediately because this could signal a more serious problem.

Typically, galactorrhea produces a milk-like, white fluid from the breasts and the fluid can discharge with or without stimulation. There are other reasons why the breasts may be leaking:


·        Medicines - hormones, blood pressure medicines, antidepressants, etc.

·        Clothing - irritating or scratchy fabrics.

·        Pregnancy

·        Stimulation - during sexual activity.

·        Tumors (which are usually benign)

·        Herbs - such as fennel and anise.


Usually there is no treatment for this, and the breasts will just stop leaking on their own over time. However, it may still be important to see your doctor, especially if you feel concerned. Some doctors recommend a check up for any kind of nipple discharge – it is always best to safe, rather than sorry.


Posted by carie anne baron on December 20,2009 at 1:20 PM

This something I have never experienced before.  I am in my mid 40's and woke up to a leaky breast.  Thank you Web MD for this information.  But most of all thank you Terra.  I too am about to start my period. My breast,  it is uncofttable and slightly itchy..

Posted by Terra on June 25,2006 at 12:43 AM
Just wanted to say.  I've had tests, mamogram and all were normal.  I leak every month and hurt sometimes really bad. I don't have lumps or anything wrong color to the liquid.   I've done this now for a year.  Always around my period.  What I love is no one can tell me why all of a sudden at 34 I began to leak.  It just reminded me how important research on female issues are.  If it was a man who had to put up with leaky breast which hurt to touch, there would be a huge push for research to at least know why.  I don't have any reasons in my life why I should be doing this but if it is menopause at least its a why.  I know I won't die from this but it still is rather bothersome.

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