What Is Hyperprolactinemia And Is It Harmful?

Hyperprolactinemia is a condition that occurs when there is more prolactin in the body then is considered normal. 

Hyperprolactinemia is a condition that occurs when there is more prolactin in the body then is considered normal. Prolactin is a hormone that is more commonly associated with the production of breast milk but it also has an important function in matters of reproduction.
A person with very high levels of prolactin may experience irregular periods and infertility and one of the most common physical side effects is a milky discharge from the breasts. This can happen when a woman has never been pregnant or lactated before and tends to be a surprising discovery for a person.

A person with hyperprolactinemia may experience very few symptoms but some of the most common symptoms of the condition are irregular menstrual cycles (as well as a lack of ovulating), abnormal hair growth, headaches and a milky discharge from the breasts.
Prolactin is a hormone that is produced in the pituitary gland. This gland is based in the brain. When prolactin levels are unusually high the pituitary gland is often the first place that a medical team will want to explore. This gland is connected to many bodily functions such as cell production and immunity but is most concerned with controlling and influencing ovulation and breast milk production.

In some cases, the overproduction of prolactin can be the result of a small tumour on the pituitary gland. This tumour is known as a prolactinoma but these cases are quite rare. In other case hyperprolactinemia can be an indication of another underlying condition or disorder. Many conditions which involve damage to the kidneys or Liver, for example, can lead to hyperprolactinemia.

Anything that affects and impacts your hormones can cause hyperprolactinemia. For this reason stress, sleep issues and exercise can be linked to the disorder. These things directly interfere with your body’s production and management of hormones. In rarer cases, the hyperprolactinemia can be caused by a medication or narcotic.

Hyperprolactinemia can happen for all genders and is often difficult to spot and diagnose for males as the symptoms are not as obvious. Hyperprolactinemia is typically diagnosed via a blood test. A person will usually present to their GP with certain symptoms.
Many of these are connected to menstruation and fertility. A person experiencing this condition may also notice a rapid change in libido. If the condition is being caused by a certain medication you are taking (dopamine-blocking drugs and anti-psychotic medication for example) your GP may suggest an alternative prescription or dosage.

A blood test will highlight elevated levels of prolactin if they are present. If levels are high they may suggest an MRI to get a closer look at the pituitary gland and to rule out a tumour.

The course of treatment will depend on the specific diagnosis. In cases where a tumour is present medication can be given to reduce prolactin levels and helps shrink the tumour. Surgery may also be used to remove the tumour if the medication is not effective.

In the majority of cases, hyperprolactinemia is a condition that can be monitored and controlled. The majority of women with this condition go on to experience normal lives and pregnancy is possible when prolactin levels are controlled.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

Read more by Tracey
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us