What Does A High Prolactin Level Mean? Causes And Treatment

Prolactin is a hormone that is synthesized by the anterior pituitary in the brain. It is responsible for the manufacture of milk in nursing mothers. Its production is high in breast feeding mothers, but, it is also synthesized in non pregnant women as well as men, in low levels.
Normal prolactin levels are as follows:

  • Pregnant women – 10 to 209 ng / ml
  • Non pregnant women – 2 to 29 ng / ml
  • Men – 2 to 18 ng / ml

High prolactin level occurs when the pituitary gland manufactures an excess of the hormone prolactin.

Certain drugs and medicines, pituitary tumors and hypothyroidism can cause hyperprolactinemia.

High level of prolactin in women is seen as breast engorgement and breast pain, a disturbance in the menstrual cycle, and spontaneous breast milk manufacture and flow.

It causes infertility, reduced sperm count, impotence, enlargement of the breasts and erectile dysfunction in men.

What Are The Causes Of High Prolactin Levels?

Common causes for hyperprolactinemia include:

  • In females, a high prolactin level is normal during pregnancy and after childbirth during the period of breast feeding.
  • High levels of prolactin are seen in those who have hypothyroidism.
  • PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a hormonal / ovarian disorder which triggers hyperprolactinemia.
  • Kidney dysfunction is another significant cause.
  • Pituitary dysfunction and / or pituitary tumors cause high levels as well.
  • A disorder of the hypothalamus.
  • Anorexia nervosa is related to hyperprolactinemia.
  • Certain medicines such as estrogen, methyldopa, H2 blockers, phenothiazines, and metoclopramide.
  • Occasionally, high protein meals and exercises can set off hyperprolactinemia.

Alternative Treatment For High Prolactin Levels

If blood test results reveal high levels of prolactin, then your health care provider will advise going in for assessing the thyroid function as well. MRI will be required to detect pituitary tumors.

By and large, these guidelines help deal with hyperprolactinemia:

  • A wholesome diet loaded with – fruits and vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens. Also, incorporate whole grains, legumes, especially soybeans and nuts and seeds. Experts recommend eating foods containing vitamin B6, such as potatoes, bananas, wild salmon, chicken and spinach; they help lower prolactin levels. Zinc supplements are also known to lower prolactin levels. Foods high in zinc include – shellfish, turkey and beans.
  • The most useful herb in reducing prolactin level is chaste tree or Vitex agnus castus. It has a potent hormone-balancing effect and regulates menstrual disorders. Chaste tree can bind to dopamine receptors and put a stop to the release of prolactin from the pituitary. It will take 3 to 5 months for chaste tree to have its effect, so you need to wait for at least 6 months before retesting prolactin levels.
  • Homeopathy drugs are decidedly beneficial in balancing the hormones naturally. Each homeopathic drug is prescribed based upon a distinctive set of symptoms not the diagnosis. Homeopathy exerts a gentle and long-lasting effect; confer with a practicing homeopath and start proper medications.
  • Dopamine producing drugs may be administered to decrease prolactin levels to shrink prolactinomas (tumors). Occasionally, surgical intervention is required to diminish the size of the tumor. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also used in conjunct with surgery to manage the case successfully.