Posted by: neo | 2012-11-05


Hi, I went to a gynae last week, took a blood test. The results were high prolactin. They say its suppost to be less than 25 and mine is 84 what causes high prolactin levels? How do I keep the levels down?

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Dear neo
There are many different reasons for a raised prolactin level, prolactin is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland in the brain and the most common cause is a small growth in the pituitary adenoma. If the adenoma is less than one 1cm it is called a micro adenoma and is usually of very little consequence. An adenoma of greater than 1cm may cause greater symptoms and should certainly be managed. However at prolactin levels of 84, it is very unlikely that you would be suffering from a significantly large adenoma and therefore at this stage it may not be necessary to do a brain scan (MRI/CT scan). Other causes of raised prolactin levels are medication such as antidepressants and medication used to control high blood pressure. Other causes include stress and frequent irritation of the nipples and in some cases it may be elevated after a gynaecological examination. My advice would be to firstly repeat the prolactin level and should it remain elevated, to start a course of simple treatment and if the levels return to normal there would be no need for you to be overly concerned. I am also assuming that you are not breastfeeding or have not been breastfeeding recently as this would increase your prolactin levels and treatment is similar to what has just been mentioned. However if the levels remain elevated than I would recommend that a brain scan be done. Of course if you are taking any chronic medication you would need to determine whether this is a possible cause of a raised prolactin and in this case, discontinue the medication which would resolve the problem.
Answered by Dr M.I.Cassim

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