Prolactin is a hormone. It is one of the many hormones secreted by the pituitary gland , a small structure in the brain.
Prolactin has two main functions:
- Promote breast development
- Stimulate lactation or milk production for breastfeeding.
High prolactin is also called hyperprolactinemia . Prolactin levels are usually high in pregnant or breastfeeding women. In other people, high prolactin levels can cause problems.
Prolactin is present in both men and women. High prolactin is more common in women.
In this article, we will discuss some of the symptoms and causes of high prolactin. It will also discuss how to diagnose and treat this condition.
Causes of high prolactin
High prolactin levels can be due to a variety of reasons, including:
Certain medications can also cause high prolactin levels. This includes:
- Tricyclic antidepressants such as Anafranil (clomipramine) and Norpramine (desipramine)
- Certain antipsychotics, such as galdol (haloperidol), zyprexa (olanzapine), and risperdal (risperidone)
- Kalan ( verapamil ), a blood pressure medicine
- Raglan (metoclopramide), a medicine for nausea
- Histamine (H2) blockers, a type of heartburn medicine.
How common is hyperprolactinemia?
Increased prolactin is more common in women. Rates may differ in different population groups.
Normal condition. In a random sample of adults, about 0.4% will have high prolactin. This number rises to 9-17% in women with reproductive diseases.
Symptoms of high prolactin levels
Some people with high prolactin levels have no symptoms. When symptoms appear, they can include:
Diagnosis of high prolactin
Prolactin can be measured with a blood test. Several external factors can influence the results.
Prolactin is believed to play an important role in sexual satisfaction. For this reason, you should avoid sexual intercourse and / or breast stimulation the night before the test.
If the test shows high prolactin levels, your healthcare provider may want to repeat it. For the second test, you will need to avoid eating for at least eight hours.
Your healthcare provider may also order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. This test detects pituitary growth or tissue damage.
Your doctor may also order blood tests to check the levels of other pituitary hormones. This can help rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms.
High prolactin can be diagnosed with a blood test. In some cases, an MRI or other blood tests may be needed to determine the cause.
Treatment of elevated prolactin
The goal of treatment is to return the level to normal. This can often be done with medications such as dopamine agonists . These are drugs that stimulate dopamine receptors.
If the high prolactin is caused by a pituitary tumor , surgery may be required.
After successful treatment, your healthcare provider may ask you to have regular blood tests to make sure your prolactin levels are within the normal range. If your condition was caused by a tumor, you may need another MRI to check the size and growth of the tumor.
High prolactin levels can be due to a number of reasons. This includes diseases of the kidneys, thyroid gland, pituitary gland, and others.
Since some of these conditions can be serious, you should always see your doctor if you have symptoms of high prolactin. Certain medications can also cause prolactin levels to rise.
Symptoms of high prolactin include sexual and menstrual problems, infertility, loss of breast milk, and others. The condition can be diagnosed with a blood test. In some cases, an MRI may be required.
The goal of treatment with high prolactin levels is to bring the levels back to normal. This can be done with medicine or surgery, depending on the cause.