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School of Medicine
What is Hyperprolactinemia?
Hyperprolactinemia is a condition characterized by excess prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production in a woman's breasts. This hypersecretion can be due to a prolactin-secreting tumor (prolactinoma), pregnancy, or the use of numerous medications, particularly psychiatric medications or to a large pituitary tumor that compresses the rest of the gland. In most cases, changes in the menstrual cycle result in early evaluation and diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia and thus most premenopausal women will present with small tumors (micro-prolactinomas, <1 cm in size). It is not unusual for me to present with very large tumors.
What are the symptoms of Hyperprolactinemia?
Symptoms can vary from person to person, but may include:
- Loss of periods and reduced libido
- Breast milk secretion
- Progressive loss of libido
- Low sperm count
- Breast enlargement
How is hyperprolactinemia diagnosed?
Diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia is based on a patient’s individual symptoms and medical history. The specialists at the Johns Hopkins Pituitary Center will utilize a number of diagnostic technologies and methods, which may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a single blood draw, or more complex hormonal, dynamic testing.
Treatment for hyperprolactinemia:
The decision for the best approach to treatment for Hyperprolactinemia is made only after a review by the Pituitary Center’s multi-disciplinary faculty. Depending on the condition and specific factors including the patient’s age, previous medical history and overall health, we may recommend a variety of different treatment options. Sometimes the best course of action is to observe symptoms over time reserving intervention at a later time only if the symptoms worsen. Other times, surgery is needed at the time of diagnosis. In selected cases, drug therapy can control the symptoms.
For more information, contact the Pituitary Center.
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