Why this test?
- To find out the cause of galactorrhea, prolactinoma, headaches and visual impairment.
- For the diagnosis of infertility and sexual dysfunction.
- To study the function of the pituitary gland.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of prolactin therapy.
In what cases is it prescribed?
- With symptoms of prolactinoma (headaches, visual impairment, galactorrhea).
- With infertility and sexual dysfunction in men and women.
- With a reduced level of testosterone in men.
- If the patient has a prolactinoma (to monitor the development of the tumor).
- In case of suspicion of a general insufficiency of pituitary function (in combination with a test for growth hormone).
- When the patient takes medications that affect the production of dopamine by the body (in order to monitor changes in the level of prolactin).
The level of prolactin in the blood usually increases during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. In a pregnant woman, the hormones prolactin, estrogen and progesterone stimulate the production of milk. When the mother does not breastfeed the newborn, prolactin in her blood falls back. There is a relationship between how often a child sucks on the mother's breast and the amount of prolactin and breast milk produced by her body.
Another cause of increased prolactin levels is prolactinoma, a tumor of the pituitary gland that produces prolactin. It is rare and, as a rule, is not malignant. Most often, such a tumor develops in women, but it also happens in men.
A significant increase in the size of the pituitary gland and / or tumor can lead to increased pressure on the optic nerve, causing headaches and impaired vision. In addition, it affects the production of other hormones by the pituitary gland. As a result, it threatens infertility for women, and partial loss of sexual function for men. If left untreated, prolactinomas can damage the tissues around them.