What Is Hyperprolactinemia?

Hyperprolactinemia is a condition caused by the overproduction of the prolactin hormone. The pituitary gland produces prolactin which aids in reproduction, breast milk production, and ovulation. Typically, the overabundance of prolactin is caused by an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland. Hyperprolactinemia can also result from kidney or liver damage.

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Is hyperprolactinemia deadly?

Hyperprolactinemia is not a deadly disease when properly identified and treated by a physician. However, the disease can affect both the male and female reproductive systems. Here are some symptoms of hyperprolactinemia:

  • Abnormal periods
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Lactation

None of these medical issues are deadly, but these symptoms make conceiving a child very difficult. This is how hyperprolactinemia causes fertility issues. To diagnose patients with this disease, doctors conduct a series of tests on the body.

Diagnosing hyperprolactinemia

When doctors suspect a patient is suffering from hyperprolactinemia, a blood test is performed. The blood test will reveal the body’s prolactin levels. To collect blood, the doctors use a needle to prick one of the veins in the arm. The process is relatively short and painless.
Doctors may also conduct an MRI to check the pituitary glands for signs of prolactinoma. A prolactinoma is a tumor that grows on the pituitary gland and disrupts prolactin levels. The MRI will tell doctors the size and scope of the tumor. These tumors are usually benign.

How do doctors treat hyperprolactinemia?

Prolactin is measured by nanograms per milliliter. Anything below 25 ng/mL is considered normal for women, and values below 15 ng/mL are considered normal for men. High prolactin levels can cause hypopituitarism. When prolactinoma exerts too much pressure on the pituitary gland, hormone levels are affected. To treat hyperprolactinemia, doctors may prescribe medicine, synthetic hormones, or start radiation therapy.
The medication will help to keep prolactin levels at the desired rate. Synthetic hormones regulate the body’s hormone levels. Thyroid replacement hormones stimulate hormone production in the thyroid, which is associated with the pituitary gland. Radiation therapy will shrink the prolactinoma tumors.

Do I have hyperprolactinemia?

Only a medical professional can diagnose someone with hyperprolactinemia. Patients that suspect hyperprolactinemia may be the cause of fertility issues should reach out to a doctor. A doctor will be able to conduct the necessary tests and examinations to determine if the patient has hyperprolactinemia. A medical professional can also refer the patient to a fertility specialist to undergo further testing.

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