What is Prolactin
La prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, a gland at the base of the brain, mainly associated withnursing. In fact, it is prolactin that spontaneously "kicks off" milk production after childbirth and continues to produce it under the stimulation of the baby's sucking.
In this article
- Because prolactin can increase even if you are not breastfeeding
- How do you realize you have high prolactin
- Hyperprolactinemia can hinder pregnancy or cause early miscarriages
- How is hyperprolactinemia diagnosed
- How high prolactin is treated
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Because prolactin can increase even if you are not breastfeeding
It may happen that the prolactin values rise even outside thefeeding time. "The causes can be different: the most frequent is a prolonged stress over time, but hyperprolactinemia can also be caused by diseases that affect the pituitary gland, for example due to the presence of small adenomas" says gynecologist Rossana.
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How do you realize you have high prolactin
The classic signs hyperprolactinemia I'm:
- la galactorrhea, ie the spontaneous secretion of a few drops of milk: that is, the bra is stained with whitish / yellowish liquid or a few drops of milk come out during squeezing of the nipple;
- amenorrhea, that is, the absence of menstruation;
- ovulation disorders, due to hormonal imbalances, which can cause irregular cycles, sometimes short, for example 23-24 days, sometimes long, 40-50 days.
Hyperprolactinemia can hinder pregnancy or cause early miscarriages
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A prolactin at higher concentrations, with values above 40 ng / ml, inhibits the production of the hormone GnRH (a hormone that induces the release of gonadotropins) which in turn prevents the pituitary from producing the hormones LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) in a normal way. “All these hormonal alterations compromise follicular development and ovulation and therefore can prevent pregnancy; or, even if you manage to get pregnant, they can cause premature abortions, around the 5th-7th week, because the progestin production necessary to nourish the product of conception in the early days is lacking ”explains the gynecologist.
How is hyperprolactinemia diagnosed
With a blood test, usually to be performed between the 2-4th day of the cycle, with which prolactin is measured along with FSH and estradiol.Read also: Low prolactin
How high prolactin is treated
To regulate the prolactin values the gynecologist prescribes an oral therapy based on cabergoline (trade name Dostinex), to be taken once a week for a period that the doctor decides according to the level of prolactin and its effects on the menstrual cycle. The same treatment is used if a pituitary adenoma is found.
Sometimes two months of treatment are enough to normalize the prolactin and, if there are no other problems, the couple can think about a pregnancy.Read also: Breastfeeding, how to get started right
Questions and answers
What is prolactin?
Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, which, in normal conditions, has the function of stimulating the production of milk by the breast, in the period following childbirth (puerperium).
When are the prolactin values high?
In case of ammenorrhea, the prolactin values are high: they have a value greater than 25 nanograms per milliliter, visible with a simple blood test.
What are the normal values of prolactin?
For women of childbearing age, normal prolactin values are between 4.79 and 23.3 ng / ml (nanograms per milliliter). During pregnancy, however, the values are between 10 and 209 ng / ml.