Prolactin

Prolactin is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland which sits at the bottom of the brain. Prolactin causes breasts to grow and develop and causes milk to be made after a baby is born. Normally, both men and women have small amounts of prolactin in their blood. During pregnancy, prolactin levels go up. After the baby is born, there is a sudden drop in estragon and progesterone. High prolactin levels trigger the body to make milk for breastfeeding. In women who aren’t pregnant, prolactin helps regulate the menstrual cycle (periods).

What is Hyperprolactinemia?

Hyperprolactinemia is a condition of too much prolactin in the blood of women who are not pregnant and in men. Hyperprolactinemia is relatively common in women. About a third of women in their childbearing years with irregular periods but normal ovaries have hyperprolactinemia. When this happens, a woman might have trouble getting pregnant or her breasts may start producing milk outside of pregnancy (galactorrhea). Ninety percent of women with galactorrhea also have hyperprolactinemia. High prolactin levels interfere with the normal production of other hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. This can change or stop ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). It can also lead to irregular or missed periods. In men, high prolactin levels can cause galactorrhea, impotence (inability to have an erection during sex), reduced desire for sex, and infertility. A man with untreated hyperprolactinemia may make less sperm or no sperm at all.

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