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Prolactin

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Prolactin is a test that measures the amount of hormone called Prolactin in the blood. Prolactin is produced by the Pituitary gland. Higher levels of Prolactin are normal during pregnancy and breastfeeding but is considered abnormal in men and non-pregnant women

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    Prolactin is a hormone produced by pituitary gland; an organ found at the base of the brain. Prolactin is usually present in low amounts in men and non-pregnant women. Prolactin is often found in higher levels in pregnant and breast-feeding women. The primary role of prolactin is to promote the production of breast milk. This test measures the amount of prolactin in the blood. When levels are higher in non-pregnant women and men, unexplained nipple discharge is seen, and this test is used for investigation.

The test is ordered if you display the following symptoms

  • Symptoms of Prolactinoma: Unexplained discharge from the nipple, frequent headaches, visual impairment
  • A woman experiencing irregular menstrual periods; this is also a routinely ordered test in the diagnosis of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
  • To identify the cause for decreased libido in men or if testosterone test results are lower than normal

The pituitary gland is in the base of the brain and produces prolactin. At times, prolactinoma, a tumor develops in the gland that leads to excessive production of prolactin. Depending on the size and the position of the tumor, it may put pressure on the optic nerve leading to headaches and interferes with vision. These tumors are benign and causes excess prolactin to be released in the blood; symptoms of which includes unexplained nipple discharge in non-pregnant women and decreased libido and infertility in men.

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Prolactin

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