Prolactin

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Overview
Interpretations
FAQ's
Prolactin

Overview of Prolactin

What is Prolactin?

Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland which is situated at the base of the brain. Prolactin is normally produced in both males and non-pregnant females in small amounts. The main function of this hormone is to stimulate milk production (lactation) after the childbirth, so, it is also known as the milk-producing hormone. The levels of prolactin hormone are generally high during pregnancy and after childbirth. However, high levels of prolactin can also be seen in many disease conditions in both men and women. The prolactin test is done to measure the levels of prolactin in the blood to evaluate and monitor the associated disease condition.

Sample Type

The sample type collected for Prolactin is: Blood

Preparation for Prolactin

  • Blood sample should be collected 4 hours after waking.

Why Get Tested for Prolactin?

  • To investigate the cause of abnormal breast milk discharge (galactorrhea), menstrual irregularities or infertility in non-pregnant women

  • To evaluate the role of prolactin in case of lactation failure in women after childbirth

  • To investigate the cause of erection problems, testicular failure or abnormal breast discharge in men

  • To investigate the cause of loss of sex drive (libido) in both men and women

  • To detect and monitor the progress of prolactinoma (tumor of the pituitary gland that causes high levels of prolactin) in both men and women


Understand more about Prolactin

The prolactin hormone is produced by the pituitary gland which is located at the base of the brain. The primary function of this hormone is to help in lactation i.e. production of milk after childbirth. Prolactin levels are usually high during pregnancy and after childbirth. During pregnancy, this hormone along with other hormones like estrogen and progesterone stimulates the breasts for milk production. After the childbirth, it helps to maintain the breast milk production. Suckling of the breasts by the baby is important for the release of prolactin hormone. If a woman stops breastfeeding, the level of prolactin hormone will return to normal.

Abnormally high levels of prolactin are seen in certain disease conditions like prolactinoma (non-cancerous tumor of the pituitary gland) in men and women. It is generally benign (non-cancerous) in nature and is seen more commonly in women. If the tumor is quite large, it can put pressure on the optic nerve and the patient may present with headache and visual disturbances.


What Results of Prolactin mean?

Interpretations

High levels of prolactin can be seen in:

  • Tumors of the pituitary gland that produces and release prolactin (Prolactinoma)

  • Diseases of the hypothalamus (a gland located in the brain)

  • Kidney disease

  • Liver disease

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Polycystic ovary disease (PCOD)

  • Conditions like anorexia nervosa (eating disorder)

Low levels of prolactin can be seen in:

  • Pseudohypoparathyroidism

  • Patients taking bromocriptine

  • Pituitary deficiency like necrosis or infarction of the pituitary gland


Patient Concerns about Prolactin

Frequently Asked Questions about Prolactin

Q. Are there any precautions required to be followed before the prolactin test?
The blood sample is collected 4 hours after waking up as the levels of Prolactin hormone are at the peak immediately after waking up. Inform your doctor if you are taking any medicines including herbals or any over the counter (OTC) medicines as they may interfere with your test values.
Q. Which medicines can affect the levels of Prolactin hormone?
Certain drugs can cause the low levels of Prolactin such as Dopamine (used in conditions like shock), Levodopa (used for Parkinson’s disease) or Ergot alkaloid derivatives (used for severe headaches). Certain drugs can cause elevated levels of Prolactin such as CNS depressants, Estrogen, drugs used for the treatment of hypertension like Reserpine, Verapamil, Methyldopa and drugs used for treating gastroesophageal reflux like cimetidine.
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Provided By

NABL

ISO

The CLINICAL LABORATORY of Shahbazker’s Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd., Colaba is the 5th lab in Mumbai & 21st in India to be granted accreditation by NABL, and the 1st Lab in Mumbai and 2nd in India to be accredited under ISO 15189 (specific for medical Laboratories). NABL is a body under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. Its criteria are based on ISO 15189:2007.

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