Prolactin is a hormone produced by the brain’s pituitary gland. prolactin has different functions in the body but the most important of them is to regulate periods and stimulate the breasts to grow and produce milk after giving birth. Once the delivery is over the prolactin level increases which prepares the body for breastfeeding. Too much prolactin in a person’s blood is called hyperprolactinemia an increased level of prolactin reduces estrogen and interferes with ovulation, causing irregular or absent periods affecting fertility. It causes women who are not pregnant to produce breast milk and can also lead to low bone density.
Causes of hyperprolactinemia
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: there are increased levels of prolactin during pregnancy and is considered normal.
- prolactinoma: it is a non-cancerous growth in the pituitary gland which increases the production of prolactin
- Underactive thyroid or(hypothyroidism) and stress: Adrenaline and cortisol are stress hormones when coupled with increased intake of carbohydrates creates an imbalance in carbohydrate levels, because of the inactive thyroid the brain is stimulated to produce TSH(Thyroid-stimulating hormone) and prolactin which in turn reduces the estrogen affecting ovulation.
- Metabolic and hormonal conditions: any injury or damage to any other part of the body like diseases of the kidneys, liver, thyroid
- and reproductive disorders like PCOS and amenorrhea can cause hyperprolactinemia.
- Certain medications for conditions including depression and high blood pressure
- Overactive cells in the pituitary gland
Hyperprolactinemia is one of the common endocrinological disorders affecting fertility by causing anovulatory cycles, luteal phase defect, and sex hormone imbalances. Infertile females have a higher incidence of hyperprolactinemia. So estimation of serum prolactin should be done at an early stage of infertility workup which is cost-effective and causes better outcome Hyperprolactinemia is an absolutely treatable condition and it is possible to get pregnant if treated in time. It is best to approach an expert infertility specialist for restoring the hormone levels to normal so that conception becomes possible.
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