Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica): A rare case of Galactorrhea


This article is about a 30-year-old woman who presented to the physician with a complaint of sudden onset of galactorrhea. She had no other symptoms or family history associated with it. However, she had a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease and obesity.

Her Hcg urine test was negative which excluded pregnancy. Her prolactin and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) were within the normal range. Furthermore, her metabolic profile had no abnormal findings either.

The physician performed further tests in which ultrasound of the breast showed no suspicious findings. However, the X-ray examination of the breast showed scattered areas of fibroglandular density and non-malignant calcifications in the left breast

The main culprit behind Galactorrhea

Detailed drug history revealed that she had been taking supplement stinging nettle, 500 mg dosage, for environmental allergies. She had been taking the supplements for a few months in addition to other medications, which were, echinacea and etonogestrel. Her galactorrhea resolved within a week when the supplement of stinging nettle was discontinued. No changes were made to her other previously prescribed medications and supplements. Since stinging nettle was the main culprit behind her galactorrhea, discontinuing the supplement resolved her condition.

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)

Stinging nettle is a nutritious plant that has effects on sex hormone-binding globulin, histamine-induced prolactin release, and thyrotropin-releasing hormone. It has many medical benefits but it also causes gynecomastia and galactorrhea due to the effect of estrogen activity on breast tissue.

Due to the increase in usage of herbal supplements in many medical conditions, physicians should be aware of their mode of mechanism and their effects on our bodies. It can easily prevent the adverse effects of these supplements when prescribed to the patients.

Reference: PubMed


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