Is prolactin important only for breastfeeding?
Or can it be the cause of several problems?
Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the lactotroph cells of the pituitary gland.
It is responsible for initiating and maintaining lactation (breastfeeding), but not only that!
PRL (prolactin) is secreted in a circadian rhythm, with peak levels during sleep and lowest levels between 10-12 in the morning. Hence the recommendation for breastfeeding mothers to get enough sleep to have sufficient milk!
Who needs prolactin analysis:
– Amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea (absence or irregular menstruation);
– Galactorrhea (milk secretion from the breasts outside pregnancy/lactation);
– Mastodynia, mastopathy (discomfort/pain in the breasts);
– Signs of virilization (excessive hair growth, acne, etc.);
– Part of screening tests in infertility cases;
– Monitoring therapy for weaning (cessation of breastfeeding);
– Suspected pituitary tumors.
In men, prolactin measurement is recommended in case of:
– Low libido and sexual dysfunction („no desire”);
– Hypogonadism with or without gynecomastia (unexplained breast enlargement);
– Galactorrhea (breast secretions upon pressure or without).
It is recommended to collect blood samples in the fasting state, after a peaceful sleep without stress, sexual activity, etc. Avoid the administration of certain medications such as antihistamines, spironolactone, cimetidine, contraceptives, painkillers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, or make a note of their administration!