Hyperprolactinemia

Hyperprolactinemia is the excessive production of the hormone prolactin (the hormone responsible for milk production). An excess of prolactin can suppress ovulation and can be symptomatic of hypothyroidism (when the body lacks thyroid hormone).

Symptoms

In women, symptoms of this condition include galactorrhea (the production of breast milk by non-nursing women), a luteal phase defect, and anovulation (when a woman does not ovulate).

Cause

Hyperprolactinemia can be caused by several factors such as:

  • Tumours on the pituitary gland (called prolactinomas)
  • Thyroid gland disorder
  • Surgical scars on the chest wall and other chest wall lesions
  • Medications, including some tranquilizers, high blood pressure medications, and psychiatric medications
  • Oral contraceptives
Treatment

A blood test can detect elevated prolactin levels. An MRI of the head may be warranted to rule out a pituitary tumour, especially if you are experiencing symptoms such as blurred vision.

Both drug and surgical methods can be used to counter hyperprolactinemia:

  1. Bromocriptine is used to reduce excessive prolactin levels.
  2. Surgery is used to remove tumours in the small percentage of patients who cannot tolerate, or do not respond to drug therapy.

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