Prolactin is a hormone produced by the cells of the adenohypophysis, and is responsible for the growth of the mammary glands and ensuring lactation.
In addition, under the influence of a substance maternal instinct develops, the menstrual cycle is regulated and immunity is maintained. During the gestational period, prolactin contributes to the full functioning of the corpus luteum.
In endocrinology and gynecology, the hormone in question is also called mammotropin, lactotropic hormone and LTG.
With an increase in the level of the element they speak of such a condition as hyperprolactinemia. Such a deviation can speak of serious pathologies, and can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, the sooner it is diagnosed, the more chances a woman has to avoid complications.
The role of prolactin in the body
Prolactin in a certain amount is produced in the male body. However, it is in the female that it plays a vital role because:
- supports the production of the corpus luteum upon the onset of the luteal phase of the MC;
- promotes breast growth and their development in girls during puberty;
- provides preparation for breast lactation;
- supports the production of breast milk throughout the HB;
- stimulates orgasm during intercourse;
- provides the production of the required amount of progesterone throughout pregnancy.
During HBV, this hormone, on the contrary, inhibits progesterone synthesis, thereby preventing ovulation. Therefore, it is also possible to speak of prolactin as a hormone that contributes contraceptive effects in the postpartum period.
During pregnancy, high prolactin levels reduce sensitivity to pain, which is especially important during childbirth. But in non-pregnant women, the overestimated indices of this hormone often indicate pathology requiring obligatory treatment.
Hyperprolactinemia may not pretend for a long time. But often women simply do not notice or do not want to notice the symptoms typical of the condition. This hormonal disorder primarily affects the menstrual cycle, sexual behavior and psycho-emotional state of the patient.
Inflated indicators of LGT are manifested:
- Failure of the menstrual cycle. Monthly become irregular, occur with a delay or, on the contrary, come before the prescribed time.
- Galactorrhea. This term refers to the pathological discharge of white, milky substance from the nipples in the absence of pregnancy or HB. This deviation is divided into 3 degrees. At grade 1, milk is excreted in drops, and only when pressed on the nipple. With 2, during palpation of the mammary glands, with 3 it begins to ooze spontaneously.
- Infertility The high content of prolactin inhibits the process of ovulation, due to which conception becomes impossible.
- Spontaneous abortion. In women with consistently high prolactin levels, even if fertilization occurs, pregnancy ends in miscarriage in the early stages.
- Decreased sexual desire, change in sexual behavior, frigidity.
- Hyperandrogenism. Following prolactin in a woman's body, the concentration of male sex hormones increases, which leads to a change in body shape, male-headed hair growth, a change in the tone of voice, etc.
- The appearance of signs of PMS in women who have not suffered from such ailment before. In patients, however, faced with premenstrual syndrome, its course with hyperprolactinemia is aggravated.
- Violation of lipid metabolism in the body, which, in turn, adversely affects all metabolic processes in the body.
- Osteoporosis. Prolonged hyperprolactinemia leads to the leaching of calcium from the bones, resulting in a decrease in bone strength. The fragility of the bones and their tendency to fracture are the main manifestations of osteoporosis.
- Exposure to autoimmune pathologies. Women with this disorder often develop SLE, antiphospholipid syndrome and other systemic diseases.
- Changes in psycho-emotional state. In patients suffering from hyperprolactinemia, there are: emotional lability, depression, unreasonable outbursts of anger, excessive aggressiveness. For such a deviation, sleep and cognitive disorders are characteristic.
- Violation of visual function. Such a symptom is a character for prolactinomas - pituitary tumors, which, as they grow, can compress the optic nerves. If untreated, their atrophy occurs, leading to complete blindness.
- Involution of the genitals. If you close your eyes for a problem for a long time, then it can lead to a decrease in the clitoris and labia, as well as to uterine hypoplasia.
With hyperprolactinemia, intense hair loss, nail foliation, increased skin dryness and peeling are observed. The result of elevated levels of prolactin often becomes seborrhea.
Reasons for increasing prolactin
Hyperprolactinemia is a pathological hormonal disorder that can lead to dangerous consequences. That is why it is necessary to know the reasons for such a failure.
Note. If it is impossible to establish the exact cause of the deviation, they speak of idiopathic hyperprolactinemia.
Increasing the concentration of this hormone may be physiologically or pathologically caused. The physiological causes of hyperprolactinemia include:
- the period of pregnancy and lactation;
- exposure to stress;
- children up to 1 month;
- alcohol abuse;
- adherence to strict diets;
- excessive exercise;
- nipple stimulation;
- tobacco smoking;
- neck massage.
The level of prolactin is directly affected by certain external factors. So, a jump in hormone levels can trigger:
- visiting the sauna or bath;
- lack of sleep;
- sexual intercourse;
- pain syndrome;
- taking oral hormonal contraceptives;
- the passage of hormone therapy;
- drug addict;
- antibiotic therapy;
- long-term use of psychotropic or hypnotic drugs.
Prolactin may also increase if certain herbs are used - fennel, red clover, fenugreek, etc. If the stimulation of the nipples is the cause of the increased hormone, the woman needs to choose softer underwear.
If we talk about the pathological causes of deviation, then hepatrolactinemia can be diagnosed by:
- pituitary adenoma, in particular, prolactinoma;
- systemic diseases;
- autoimmune diseases;
- hypothalamic diseases;
- infectious brain lesions;
- polycystic ovary syndrome;
- adrenal dysfunction;
- cirrhosis of the liver.
Pathological hyperprolactinemia can be organic or functional. The functional form of the deviation is said if it occurred against the background of cirrhosis, acute renal failure, sarcoidosis, hypothyroidism, etc.
With functional hyperprolactinemia organic change does not occur. In this case, the diseases themselves lead to morphological changes in the tissues. Such a deviation is observed in patients with prolactinoma, germinoma, glioma, meningioma or pituitary adenoma. Hyperprolactinemia is more susceptible to women than men.
Hyperprolactinemia is determined by conducting a biochemical analysis of venous blood for prolactin. But on the basis of this test only, no diagnosis is made, therefore, in parallel, patients are prescribed:
- research on other hormones;
- radiological examinations of the turkish saddle zone;
- CT or MRI;
- examination by an ophthalmologist and a gynecologist.
For women of reproductive age, the values of the hormone prolactin in the blood are considered to be indicators that are not lower than 2.8 and not higher than 29.2 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng / ml). But each laboratory may use a different method of research, and therefore the data may differ. In any case, all laboratories indicate on the forms not only the results of the test, but also the limits of the prolactin norm.
It is better to donate blood from a vein in the morning from 8 to 11, and only on an empty stomach. The last meal on the eve of the analysis is allowed no later than 8 hours before going to the laboratory.
Hyperprolactinemia is a condition that is dangerous to women's health. And it's not just the development of infertility, menstrual disorders, or spontaneous abortions in early pregnancy. Such a deviation is fraught with:
- Reduced sexual desire, which entails the development of frigidity. Such a change in a woman’s sexual behavior requires long-term adjustment.
- Uncontrolled growth of the mammary glands. Moreover, it can increase as one gland, and both. Such a deviation not only causes discomfort and pain, but also is dangerous to health. Against this background, the formation of cysts in the tissues of the breast, or the development of oncological processes.
- Psycho-emotional disorders. Patients with hyperprolactinemia often suffer from social disadaptation, depression, neurasthenia, neurosis, psychosis. Perhaps the emergence of sociopathy and other mental disorders.
- Increased blood pressure and the development of coronary artery disease.
- Obesity, which is a consequence of increased, uncontrolled appetite.
- The development of type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent).
- Propensity to autoimmune diseases.
- Sleep problems. In parallel with this, there is a deterioration of memory, a decrease in concentration, problems with memorization, etc.
- The development of osteoporosis associated with intense bone loss of calcium.
- Disorders of the autonomic nervous system.
If the cause of hyperprolactinemia is pituitary adenoma, then other, more serious and dangerous, complications such as hypopituitarism, paralysis of extraocular muscles, reduced visual acuity, etc., are possible.
How to reduce elevated prolactin?
Treatment of hyperprolactinemia begins with finding out the reasons for such a deviation and determining symptoms that arouses a woman. If the jump in the level of the hormone is the result of tumor neoplasms of the adenohypophysis, the treatment can be both medical and surgical.
In the first case, special medications are used - dopamine agonists or dopaminomimetics. It is this hormone that is responsible for the synthesis of prolactin, and regulates its level in the blood. To reduce performance, it is advisable to use:
Under the influence of these medications, the symptoms of hyperprolactinemia are relieved, the indicators of the hormone prolactin are normalized. Drugs are designed for long-term use, but it is due to this that the above-mentioned results of therapy are achieved, as well as the size of the pituitary tumor.
Stable results can be achieved after 2 months of treatment. All the above medical preparations are equally effective, but in the case when the patient is planning a pregnancy, endocrinologists and gynecologists prefer Bromocriptine, since it is the least harmful to the embryo.
During the entire period of therapy, the patient must strictly adhere to certain rules:
- smoking and drinking are the strictest taboos;
- the intensity of physical exertion and training should be minimized;
- refusal to take neuroleptics and potent psychotropic drugs;
- limiting the amount of protein consumed;
- avoidance of stressful situations.
Compliance with these simple rules will help to normalize hormones and maintain it at the proper level.
Specific preventive measures to prevent hyperprolactinemia do not exist.
However, compliance with the rules of healthy lifestyles and proper nutrition, the rejection of bad habits and self-treatment significantly reduces this risk. In case of problems with sleep, it is better to take motherwort, peony tincture or valerian instead of potent synthetic hypnotic drugs.
If after 2 - 3 years after giving birth or artificially terminating a pregnancy, the woman continues to release milk from her nipples, you should not worry. But you should also not squeeze the milky fluid, otherwise the pituitary gland will continue to intensively produce prolactin.