What is Prolactin – Hormones and Pregnancy

The body depends on a series of hormones, each with a purpose. Like progesterone , estrogen and many others, prolactin is an essential hormone for a woman’s reproductive health. What’s more, prolactin is all about pregnancy!

Prolactin Function

The pituitary gland is a gland located in the brain, and is responsible for a number of hormones, including prolactin. The main role of prolactin is to stimulate milk production in women.

Right after delivery , the body sends a signal to the pituitary indicating that the baby has already been born. The pituitary’s response is to release prolactin as a sign that breastfeeding is about to begin. However, it is not only after delivery that prolactin can appear. It can appear overnight in a woman’s body due to several other factors.

The pituitary gland can send signals for prolactin production even without the woman having given birth. This explains several cases of women who produce milk at some point in the cycle.

The increase in prolactin can also occur in men! Contrary to popular belief, they can produce minimal amounts of prolactin if the pituitary gland sends that signal. However, the consequences of prolactin on a man’s body are slightly different than for a woman.

What Causes Prolactin Increase?

The increase in prolactin, or hyperprolactinemia, can be caused by other health complications, such as anorexia, liver and kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome and hypothyroidism. Some drugs can also increase the levels of this hormone, as is the case with some psychiatric drugs like risperidone and haloperidol from drugs like metoclopramide.

Some  pituitary tumors  can also cause prolactin to rise considerably. In these cases, the doctor must assess the need for surgery, but these cases are more rare.

There are also other more common factors that can influence prolactin levels, such as hypoglycemia and heavy physical exercise. The stress of everyday life, or even the anxiety of becoming pregnant can cause this increase.

Consequences of High Prolactin

The increase in prolactin in the body can cause women to produce breast milk out of hours. But if this increase is too large, it affects the levels of other hormones, such as estrogen. Thus, discharge of prolactin can lead to amenorrhea, that is, the absence of menstruation . That is why women with high levels of prolactin can stop ovulating , and consequently cannot get pregnant.

Not every delayed cycle means that the woman is not ovulating. If in doubt, it is best to check with an ovulation test. When there is a hormonal imbalance that affects the cycle, the ovulation test can offer important clues as to what is wrong. The Famivita ovulation test has high sensitivity and well-defined lines, to leave no doubt. You can purchase your ovulation test here , in our online store.

Therefore, any sign of fluid coming out of the breast should be investigated by the doctor, especially in women who  want to become pregnant . It can also cause pain during sex and loss of libido.

High levels of prolactin in men can cause sexual impotence, loss of libido and a reduction in sperm, in addition to consequences such as breast enlargement. The increase in prolactin can cause a kind of transient infertility in both men and women.

Examination for High Prolactin Levels

The test to check prolactin levels is a blood test with a fast of at least 8 hours. The difference in collecting this test is that it takes at least 30 minutes of rest  for the hormone to stabilize in the body. The amount of prolactin in the body must be less than 25n / mL in women who are not pregnant, and less than 15ng / mL in men.

Above Normal Result

Values ​​above 100ng / mL already attract attention and deserve a more detailed investigation. In this range, the problem is often some medication. Much higher values ​​can be a sign of tumors in the pituitary gland. Anyway, abnormal values ​​deserve attention.

Increased Prolactin Caused By Medication

If it is possible to confirm that the increase was caused by a drug, in most cases it is enough to stop its use for the prolactin to return to normal.

If it is an increase unrelated to drugs or tumors, it is possible to lower prolactin levels with medications such as cabergoline. Women or men who have previously had abnormal prolactin levels should be periodically monitored by their doctor to rule out a further increase after treatment.

Women who want to become pregnant should check their prolactin levels. This test is very important in batteries of tests before becoming pregnant, as they can disrupt the other hormones needed to get pregnant.

Secretion in the breasts? See a doctor for prolactin tests.

Questions from Readers:

How to lower prolactin naturally?

It is very difficult to lower prolactin naturally. Some studies point out that the herbal supplement vitex may help, but the results are not conclusive.

Typically, the most common treatment for lowering prolactin levels is medications like cabergoline. It is important to remember that you should never use drugs without a prescription.

How to control prolactin?

As it is a pituitary problem, there is no way to predict when this problem will happen.

See also: I can’t get pregnant! How to Find Out the Cause

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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.

Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

Dr. Alexis Hart

My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother. Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

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