What is prolactin test?
The prolactin test measures the level of prolactin in the blood. High prolactin levels cause infertility in both women and men. The pituitary gland produces prolactin, a hormone that plays a role in milk production and other body functions. When there are high levels of prolactin, it is known as hyperprolactinemia.
High prolactin levels cause infertility in women and men
Doctors often use the prolactin test to help diagnose problems with the pituitary gland or assess the effectiveness of medications that impact prolactin levels. Additionally, it may aid in diagnosing fertility problems in women.
High prolactin levels cause infertility by interfering with periods, ovulation and fertility. In women a high prolactin level reduces reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This may lead to irregular or missed periods.
High prolactin levels cause infertility in men. High prolactin can result to a reduced libido, impotence, reduced sperm counts and male infertility.
Prolactin test Procedure
Doctors usually measure prolactin through a blood test. Your prolactin levels can be measured anytime during the menstrual cycle.
The blood sample is collected within 3-4 hours after the patient has awakened. Then, it is allowed to clot. Afterward, the serum is separated from the blood for testing. It’s important to note that peak values are observed in the early morning hours.
Doctors do the the test when the patient is in a fasting and relaxed state. Prolactin levels rise in response to food and stress.
High levels of prolactin can lead to infertility. Doctors confirm an elevated value through a repeat test. Additional tests like an MRI are prescribed if the values are high.
The results of the prolactin test, combined with other tests and evaluations, can help assess the potential role of prolactin in fertility issues.
What are the normal values for prolactin?
Each laboratory provides normal values for the instrument and test system used. However as a reference the normal values for prolactin are:
Females: 3.8-23.2 ng/mL
Males: 3.0-14.7 ng/mL
High prolactin levels cause infertility- What causes high prolactin levels?
Prolactin secreting tumors such as pituitary macroadenomas may present with high values of prolactin. The values are often above 1000ng/mL. Values of prolactin greater than 150ng/mL are observed in patients with amenorrhea, hypothalamic-pituitary disorders, primary hypothyroidism, PCOS, adrenal insufficiency, anorexia nervosa, and other similar disorders.
Drugs such as antihistamines, antipsychotics, oral contraceptives , estrogens etc may cause an elevation of prolactin. Similarly some drugs used for movement disorders, migraines and hypertension may result in reduced prolactin levels.
High prolactin levels cause infertility and must be investigated further.