Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
High prolactin levels are not considered a cause for concern in most individuals. Normal levels range from less than twenty to thirty ug/L. However, there are certain conditions you should be aware of if your prolactin level is higher than this.
During pregnancy, the prolactin hormone plays an important role in maintaining the body's reproductive system. It boosts lactose, a milk sugar, and also increases protein production in breast milk. In addition, it contributes to hundreds of bodily processes.
Prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland, a pea-shaped gland located near the base of the brain. It's primary function is to stimulate lactation in females. However, the hormone also contributes to the development of breast tissue in women.
The hormone is also produced in small amounts by men. However, high levels of prolactin may cause a variety of side effects. Symptoms include irregular periods, low sex drive, and infertility.
High levels of prolactin may also prevent the release of the egg during the menstrual cycle. In addition, the hormone can increase water retention. In some men, this can cause erectile dysfunction. It can also interfere with the testes' ability to produce testosterone.
Prolactinoma, a tumor in the pituitary, is the most common cause of higher-than-normal levels of prolactin in the blood. Prolactinoma occurs more often in women than in men. The symptoms of prolactinoma are similar to those of other tumors. However, the disease is rare and usually does not cause symptoms in children. The condition can be treated with medication, radiation therapy, or surgery.
Prolactin is normally produced in very low amounts in non-pregnant females. It's produced in higher amounts during pregnancy and during the lactation period. This hormone protects the brain from stress and seizures.
What Happens When Prolactin Levels Are High?
Having high levels of prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) in the blood can cause several problems. In women, it can interfere with ovulation and testosterone production. In men, it can lower the libido and sex drive. In both men and women, it can increase the risk of infertility.
High levels of prolactin are caused by several different conditions. Prolactinoma is the most common cause. This tumor forms in the pituitary gland.
Prolactinomas are non-cancerous tumors that occur most often in females. The tumors can be large enough to compress surrounding structures, including the optic nerve. They can also affect the pituitary gland, putting pressure on it. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation therapy or medication to shrink the tumor.
Another cause of high levels of prolactin is an underactive thyroid gland. People with this condition may take thyroid hormone tablets to treat it. This medication can also raise prolactin.
The symptoms of high prolactin include irregular menstrual periods, irregular egg release and breast milk discharge. If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor. Your healthcare provider may also order a blood test to measure the concentration of prolactin in your blood. This is a quick, painless test that will give you a lot of information about your health.
Does High Prolactin Cause Hair Loss?
Different studies have looked at the relationship between prolactin and hair loss. Most have concluded that there is no evidence to suggest a direct link between the two. However, there is some evidence that prolactin might play a role in female pattern baldness.
Research also associates prolactin with male androgenetic alopecia. It may also increase the risk of prolactinoma, a pituitary gland tumor. Prolactin levels have also been associated with telogen effluvium, a condition where hair follicles prematurely enter the catagen phase.
Other studies have also shown that moderate elevations of prolactin are not associated with hair loss. These elevations are usually below 25 ng/ml, and do not affect the duration or pattern of hair loss.
High levels of prolactin may contribute to hair loss in women. However, it is not known if (specifically) high levels of prolactin can cause hair loss in men. Although it is recognised that hair loss is due to hormones. Only a few studies have been performed, and a solid correlation between high levels of prolactin and hair loss has yet to be confirmed.
Other effects of High Prolactin
A male with hypogonadism and high prolactin may experience hair loss. It can also lead to infertility. While there are other causes of infertility, the primary condition may lead to testicular atrophy and low sperm count. If left untreated, hypogonadism may also lead to other secondary sexual characteristics, such as poor muscle development, lethargy and cognitive decline. Additionally, patients with hypogonadism may experience erectile dysfunction and gynecomastia. The hypogonal body proportions that result from hypogonadism are a result of delayed epiphyseal fusion.
Hypogonadism is caused by a deficiency of testosterone in the body. This deficiency can result from a problem with the pituitary gland, the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, or from a deficiency in the production of luteinizing hormone. Depending on the etiology of hypogonadism, treatment may involve regulating hormone levels, including gonadotropin and testosterone.
Increasing your prolactin level can result in a range of symptoms including infertility, and irregular menstrual cycles. While it may not be immediately clear what causes your prolactin levels to rise, you can seek treatment. Your physician can prescribe medication, surgery, or other treatments based on your specific needs.
High levels of prolactin can also interfere with ovulation, which is essential to fertility. The hormone prevents ovulation by slowing down the process. Consequently, your ovaries may only release the egg intermittently or not at all. This results in irregular periods, making natural conception difficult.
High prolactin levels are believed to affect bone metabolism, leading to bone loss. In one study, women with high levels of prolactin had significantly lower bone mineral density (BMD) compared to women with normal prolactin levels. The reason is that prolactin inhibits osteoblasts.
High prolactin levels have also been linked to osteoporosis, which is a serious condition. However, the cause of this disorder remains unclear, and there are many potential risk factors. According to a recent study, patients on long-term prolactin-raising antipsychotics are at increased risk of osteoporosis. The study was conducted on 14 female patients with schizophrenia who were treated with either risperidone or olanzapine monotherapy for 12 months.
This study found that a patient with high prolactin levels had low bone mineral density (BMD), a condition known to be a precursor to osteoporosis. Although the exact mechanism of bone loss is unknown, this observation suggests that prolactin suppresses the production of gonadotrophic hormones. Hypogonadism is another risk factor for osteoporosis. Fortunately, prolactinomas are treatable with cabergoline. But more research is needed to determine the long-term consequences of this condition.
Having high levels of prolactin in the blood is a serious condition known as hyperprolactinemia. There is a link between prolactin and androgenetic alopecia, a condition characterized by hair loss. It is also associated with telogen effluvium, a condition characterized by excessive hair shedding.
Prolactin is produced by the anterior pituitary gland in the brain. It is responsible for a variety of functions, including development of breast tissue and lactation, as well as immunological functions. Prolactin levels increase during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can also be a side effect of certain medications, including those used to treat psychiatric conditions.
Prolactin levels can range from slightly elevated to 1,000 times the upper limit of normal. However, these levels are unlikely to affect hair growth patterns, especially in most females.
Some studies have looked at the relationship between prolactin and hair loss, but have not come to any clear conclusions. In fact, the scientific community is still unsure about how to define this relationship.
Some studies have found that high levels of prolactin are associated with a variety of medical conditions, including infertility. Other studies have found that prolactin levels may be linked to male pattern baldness. However, a more thorough study is needed to determine whether specifically high levels of prolactin are associatedwith hair loss in males.
Prolactin levels are heightened by some adenomas, a type of pituitary tumor. Surgical removal of these tumors can lower the blood prolactin concentration, but it can also cause complications.