How to lower prolactin levels

Prolactin, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, encourages and enhances the breast development as well as the milk production during pregnancy and after childbirth. Both men and women produce prolactin. In certain cases, the levels of prolactin can be higher, causing a decreased libido, irregular menstruation, subfertility and other problems in women. If the levels of prolactin are higher in men, reduced muscle mass, erectile dysfunction and decreased libido are common. If your levels of prolactin are higher than normal, seek immediate medical help.

Treat the Underlying Causes to Reduce Prolactin

High prolactin is usually caused by the following four conditions.

1. Prolactinoma

One of the causes of high prolactin can be prolactinoma. How to reduce prolactin in this case?

  • Cabergoline and bromocriptine are the most often used drugs for the treatment of prolactinoma. These drugs tend to lower the production of prolactin as well as decrease the size of the tumor. You will need to take these prescription medications for at least 2 years. If, after 2 years, the levels of prolactin are normal or you no longer have the tumor, you may be able to gradually stop the medication. However, sometimes you will need to start taking the medications again because the tumor can grow back.
  • In some cases, prolactinoma can’t be treated with medications, so a surgical treatment is necessary.
  • In rare cases, when surgical removal of the tumor does not solve the problem, radiation treatment is the resort. The radiation therapy tends to shrink the tumor.
  • In aggressive prolactinomas or on malignant prolactinomas, even the radiation therapy does not work.

2. Medicine-Induced Hyperprolactinemia

Wonder how to reduce prolactin? First, you need to know the cause. Sometimes, certain types of medications increase the levels of prolactin. Stop the medication you use for a period of time. Your doctor can change your medication with a similar drug which will not increase the levels of prolactin. When there is no drug that can substitute the one you need to take, cabergoline or bromocriptine are prescribed. Estrogen can be prescribed for women too, while testosterone can be prescribed for men.

3. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by low levels of thyroid hormones. Synthetic thyroid hormones are prescribed to treat this medical condition.

4. Idiopathic Hyperprolactinemia

In certain cases, the real cause of hyperprolactinemia is not known. This is known as idiopathic hyperprolactinemia. Sometimes, the high levels of prolactin can return to normal on its own. However, if this does not occur, cabergoline or bromocriptine is prescribed.

Prolactinoma During Pregnancy

Women can get pregnant during prolactinoma treatment. If this occurs, a special treatment is necessary in order to make sure that the baby is in good health.

  • Once you realize that you are pregnant, you should stop taking cabergoline or bromocriptine. Get a checkup with your endocrinologist.
  • If, however, you need to continue the medications even during pregnancy, bromocriptine is the one preferred.
  • You should not measure the levels of prolactin while pregnant. Normally, prolactin levels are higher than normal during pregnancy.
  • Routine MRI examinations are not necessary during pregnancy unless the prolactinoma is growing or is affecting your vision.

How to Reduce Prolactin Naturally

Apart from the medical treatment, you can manage the high prolactin by taking the following supplements and herbs. But don’t try to self-medicate; be sure to consult your doctor first.

1. Vitamin B6

It is a primary prolactin inhibitor supplement, very safe and cheap at the same time. There are two forms of vitamin B6 recommended in cases of high levels of prolactin. If you decide to take regular B6 vitamin, you should take 300 to 1000 mg per day in divided doses. If you decide to take the activated form of vitamin B6, you should take 50 to 200 mg per day in divided doses.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another supplement that can inhibit central prolactin secretion. It is also safe, cheap and rarely causes any side effects. The recommended dosage is 300 to 400 IU per day. If necessary, the dosage of natural vitamin E can be increased up to 1000 IU per day.

3. SAM-e

SAM-e is a natural supplement that lowers the levels of prolactin in men. SAM-e is mostly well tolerated. However, in certain cases, nausea, and other gastrointestinal effects have been reported. About 400 to 1200 mg of SAM-e are recommended daily, along with vitamin B6 and vitamin E.

4. Zinc

Zinc tends to work together with vitamin B6 in the human body. You should take 50 to 100 mg of zinc citrate, zinc gluconate or zinc mono methionine a day, in order to increase the effect of vitamin B6. Zinc supplements also help correct the marginal zinc deficiency. Marginal zinc deficiency has been shown to be one of the causes of high levels of prolactin in men, especially among bodybuilders and athletes.

5. Ginseng Extract

It is a natural herb recommended for lowering the high levels of prolactin. In men, it is also known to increase the sex drive and erection frequency. You should start with 1000 mg of ginseng extract a day. The maximal dosage should be up to 3000 mg a day.

A cyclic administration is very important for the better effect of this herb. Try to take the herb 5 days in a row, followed by 2 days pause. You can also take the herb for three weeks in a row, followed by 2 weeks of pause. See whichever cycle works better for you.

6. Maca Powder

Maca powder works by raising the levels of nitric oxide and dopamine, which then helps solve the prolactin problems. Start taking a half or one teaspoon of Maca powder a day. If necessary you can increase the dosage up to three teaspoons of Maca powder a day.

7. Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna pruriens is another natural herb used for lowering the high levels of prolactin. You should start with a half to three teaspoons of mucuna powder a day.

8. Ginkgo Biloba

This is another natural way about how to reduce prolactin. Ginkgo improves the dopamine levels in the human body, while acting as a prolactin inhibitor. Start with 60 to 360 mg a day, adjusting the dose depending on the results.

9. Vitex

Vitex has the ability to reduce the elevated levels of prolactin. Vitex also regulates the menstrual cycle and encourages a hormonal balance as well. It promotes a normal luteal phase of the menstrual cycle by supporting normal levels of progesterone.

Elevated prolactin can lower libido and testosterone and affect your bedroom prowess. As I discuss in my link on The Male Refractory Period, elevated prolactin can also lengthen the recovery time post-intercourse. In fact, men with a high enough prolactin level can actually end up anorgasmic. Remember that right after the Big O, a surge of prolactin is released and this is meant by Mother Nature to counteract the effects of elevated dopamine. [1]

Elevated prolactin also tends to lower dopamine, your feel-good neurotransmitter, which can affect mood (negatively). Conversely, dopamine is a prolactin inhibitor. [2] In addition, high prolactin can decrease your fertility as well. So the picture can turn ugly quickly to say the least.

CAUTION: If you have elevated prolactin, discuss immediately with your physician. It can be the result of a prolactinoma, a pituitary tumor, that needs medical evaluation.

Of course, there are several well-known medications that powerfully lower prolactin. Cabergoline (Dostinex) and bromocriptene are the two well-known pharmaceuticals that have helped many men with clinically high prolactin. There is one big problem with these two drugs: they are rife with side effects. Cabergoline does a little better, but many men struggle with nasty issues such as nausea, constipation, dry mouth, fluid retention, heart palpitations and so on. Furthermore, the percentage of men who struggle with some kind of significant side effect is quite high, although that is dependent on dosage.

Are their decent natural alternatives? Well, yes and no. Nothing has the power of one of these medications, but, nevertheless, there are a few ways to lower your prolactin that could potentially help a man with mildly elevated prolactin. (Always discuss with your doctor first!)

1. Macuna Pruriens. Researchers in India found that an extract (5 grams of a certain product) from the legume called Velvet Bean not only gave a nice boost in testosterone from 449 to 572 ng/dl, but also dropped prolactin levels from 10.76 to 7.28 ng/ml, at least in men struggling with fertility. [3] For those without mathematical superpowers, that’s a 27% increase in testosterone and a 33% drop in prolactin. Keep in mind that a specific subpopulation was studied in this case.

CAUTION: Macuna pruriens seem to have caused heart palpiations in a couple of Peak Testosterone Forum members. Of course, most men do not experience arrhythmias from macuna, but apparently the increase dopamine may affect some men. I would recommend discussing with your doctor first.

2. Zinc. Zinc may help some men according to one study of male hemodialysis patients. Giving these men 50 mg of zinc per day lowered their prolactin levels from 29 to 11 ng/ml! CAUTION: Don’t go too high with zinc as some experts believe it is neurotoxic above a certain threshold. See my page on The Potential Dangers of Zinc for many other issues with zinc supplementation.

CAUTION: Believe it or not, low prolactin is a fairly common issue with many men and can be linked to a variety of medical conditions. See my link on A Guide to Low Prolactin for details.

3. Decrease Estradiol. Increasing estradiol, the “bad” estrogen, is said to increase prolactin by a number of experts. (Actually, you need some estradiol, or E2, as I document in my link on Do Men Need Estrogen?) However, I see no research evidence that lowering estradiol, through Arimidex (anastrozole), etc., actually lowers prolactin. In fact, a couple of studies in women show no significant change. [4] However, there is a chance that in some men lowering estradiol may help, which means things like weight loss may improve prolactin levels.

4. Sleep. Sleep disorders or lack of sleep will lower your dopamine levels, which can increase prolactin, as I document in my link on Sleep and Dopamine. One study of men with sleep apnea found that they had a significant decrease in prolactin levels from treatment with CPAP devices. [5] I’m not sure why, but they monitored this after about 1-3 years in these men, but, at least it shows that the positive changes look permanent.

5. Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera). This popular ayurvedic herb lowered prolactin in a couple of subpopulations according to one study. [8] It should be noted that the effects were small – 10 to 15% depending on the subpopulation looked at. The dosage was 5 grams/day of the root powder.

6. Magnesium Deficiency. A magnesium deficiency is reported to lead to lower levels of dopamine. Often dopamine is antagonistic with dopamine and so it is possible that a magnesium deficiency could lead to elevated levels of prolactin, although I was not able to verify this. But it is easy to test this out.

7 . Primary Hypothyroidism . This lowering of thyroid function is usually caused by Hashimoto’s or an iodine deficiency. It leads to an increase in TRH and can increase prolactin levels, something I cover in my page on Hypothyroidism and High Prolactin.

8. CAUTION: Vitamin B6. Megadosing B6 can lower prolactin. I do not mention this as a solution, because megadosing with B6 can lead permanent nerve damage if done incorrectly. (I am cautious about megadosing vitamins in general.) The form of Vitamin B6 may matter as well. [9] Regardless, it would probably be prudent to make sure you are not deficient in one of these vitamins.

9. CAUTION: Chasteberry (Vitex agnus castus). Chasteberry has been shown in several in vitro studies to bind to dopamine receptors in pituitary cells. [6] It also has a history of being used in women for hyperprolactinemia. [7] Unfortunately, there appear to be no studies on men and, at least in women, it has some unusual affects such as increasing progesterone and LH (leutinizing hormone) while decreasing FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). In my opinion, this seems like an unpredictable mix of effects for long term usage.

1) Biol Psychol, 2006 Mar, 71(3):312-5. Epub 2005 Aug 10, “The post-orgasmic prolactin increase following intercourse is greater than following masturbation and suggests greater satiety”

2) Endocr Rev, 2001 Dec;22(6):724-63, “Dopamine as a prolactin (PRL) inhibitor”

4) Tumori, 1998 Jan-Feb;84(1):45-7, “Clinical efficacy of the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole in relation to prolactin secretion in heavily pretreated metastatic breast cancer”

5) Sleep and Breathing, Sep 2010, 14(3):253-257, “Infertility and obstructive sleep apnea: the effect of continuous positive airway pressure therapy on serum prolactin levels”

6) https://longwoodherbal.org/vitex/vitex.pdf, Clinicial Nutrition Insights, Black Cohosh and Chasteberry: Herbs Valued by Women for Centuries, BY JOSEPH L. MAYO, MD, FACOG

7) Drug Saf, 2005, 28(4):319-32, “Vitex agnus castus: a systematic review of adverse events”

8) Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011, “Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility”

9) J Pharm Sci, 1979 Sep, 68(9):1179-81, “Effects of pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6) on chlorpromazine-induced serum prolactin rise in male rats”

Here I will discuss with you on how to Foods are increase lower Prolactin Level. If you’re searching for the best foods for Balancing your Prolactin Levels or your hormones, then you at the perfect place for this. First, a fall understands about Prolactin level and its Symptoms also Which Foods/Fruit for maintain your Prolactin level. This hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates growth and regulates metabolism. Both men and women produce the Prolactin hormone, and if your levels are too high, it can lead to problems like lowered sex drive and infrequent or stopped periods.

What is prolactin?

Prolactin is a hormone discharged by Pituitary Gland, and it is primarily in charge of changes in females amid pregnancy and lactation. High Prolactin levels in the body happen when this hormone is emitted in overabundance by the gland, alluded to Hyperprolactinemia.

You may decrease the Prolactin level normally through nourishment. Studies have demonstrated that a diet wealthy in zinc and Vitamin B6 decreases Prolactin levels in the body. Eat a Healthy, all around adjusted eating regimen which will likewise keep the body healthy and reduces stress.

What are the Symptoms of Prolactin?

The condition of having high prolactin circulating in the blood is called hyperprolactinemia. The most common causes of hyperprolactinemia include:

For Women:

  • increased risk of miscarriage
  • irregular nipple release
  • breastfeed milk production in the absence of pregnancy
  • disrupted ovulation
  • painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness
  • irregular period cycles including amenorrhea (absent period) and a luteal phase defect

For Men:

  • erectile dysfunction (impotence)
  • decreased muscle mass
  • headaches (problems with vision resulting from a pituitary tumor affecting the optic nerve)
  • Gynecomastia or male breast enlargement
  • lack of body hair

Natural Remedies For Prolactin

Natural Remedies is useful for the maintain prolactin level. You can use Ashwagandha, Vitamin E, L-Dopa, Vitamin Zinc, Vitamin B6, etc. By far most of the patients with Prolactin Levels can be dealt with effectively utilizing medications that emulate the activity of dopamine. The most ordinarily utilized is cabergoline. You can also use buy cabergoline as an alternative to get a fast result.

Vitamin Zinc rich Fruits (Foods)

Fruits that are high in zinc content are prescribed. Zinc works connected at the hip with nutrient B6 to oversee metabolic procedures and to bring down prolactin levels. Zinc additionally demonstrates helpful for ladies trying to oversee side effects related to the premenstrual disorder. Poultry, red meats, shellfish, shrimp, crabs, clams, Gouda cheddar, pinto beans, green beans, tofu, peanuts, soybeans, and sunflower seeds are natural wellsprings of zinc.

Males 19 and more seasoned need 11 milligrams of zinc multi-day; females require 8 mg of zinc for every day, and pregnant ladies just as ladies who are breastfeeding expect 11 to 13 mg of zinc day by day for ideal wellbeing. Zinc can likewise be devoured as an enhancement at a measurement of one 50 milligram case one-time multi-day to help lower prolactin levels.

Here are top 5 Fruit In vitamin Zinc for Prolactin Level maintain

  1. Spinach
  2. Shellfish
  3. Beef
  4. Squash Seeds
  5. Cashews

Vitamin B6 rich Fruits (Foods)

Nutrient B6 works with zinc to keep your hormone levels adjusted to help in normally bringing down prolactin levels. Guys require 1.3 to 1.7 mg of nutrient B6 day by day, while ladies need 1.2 to 1.5 mg of nutrient B6 consistently. Pregnant ladies need 1.9 mg of nutrient B6, and nursing moms require 2.0 mg of nutrient B6 every day for ideal wellbeing. Characteristic nutrition sources high in nutrient B6 incorporate whole grain flour, wheat germ, hamburger liver, sunflower seeds, grain, carrots, darker rice, soybeans, spinach, cheddar, lentils, shrimp, salmon, fish, turkey, and chicken.

Here are the top 5 Fruit In vitamin B6 for prolactin Level maintain

  1. Sunflower Seeds
  2. Potatoes
  3. Bananas
  4. Pistachio Nuts
  5. Chicken

The Bottom Line

It’s normal for men to have high prolactin levels nowadays, as the “typical” diet is the thing that it is, alongside numerous different components.

Consult a physician or doctor before consuming this herb to determine if it is appropriate for your needs

I hope, you will get an answer to very simple to figure out how to Foods help to lower Prolactin Level usually. Certain supplements, vitamins, herbs, and minerals alongside satisfactory rest will work, as clarified previously.

How to lower prolactin levels

Elevated prolactin may have a negative impact on egg quality. Image courtesy interphasesolutions at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One common finding among women with fertility issues is elevated prolactin.

Elevated prolactin can be caused by a number of things, such as medications, long-term stress, lack of sleep (or even having sexual intercourse just before the blood check).

There are frequent mentions in the medical literature (like in the study here) of elevated prolactin in association with polycystic ovarian syndrome as well as endometriosis, but a clear link has not been established yet.

A normal prolactin level is less than 500 mIU/L (20 ng/mL). Very high prolactin is anything beyond 5,000 mIU/L (>200 µg/L) and needs to be medically treated.

But what about values in-between? Such as slightly elevated prolactin between 500–2000 mIU, which is common in women who have difficulties getting pregnant?

The thing is, high prolactin can lower FSH levels needed to trigger egg maturation processes, meaning it can prevent ovulation from occurring.

Another problem—less obvious but possibly more serious—is that slightly elevated prolactin may negatively affect egg quality.

So how can this be prevented and what can you do from your side to lower prolactin levels elevated by a stressful lifestyle?

Basically, there are two things which really work:

1. Take Vitex (Agnus-Castus)

The most effective herb at lowering prolactin levels is the chastetree berry (also known as Vitex Agnus Castus, like this one here).

Its extract has proven hormone balancing effects and it’s been around forever. In ancient Greece, women used this plant to treat menstrual disorders. However, Vitex must be taken over the course of at least 2–5 months to see the effects. You should take it continuously throughout the cycle because its effects are not strong and get “washed out” quite quickly.

2. Diet and supplements

Eating a whole food diet or, even better, a Mediterranean diet will help keep prolactin levels low long-term. In my previous articles on Mediterranean diet, you can read which diet is proven to help shorten time to conception and why. Consider eating more foods that contain vitamin B6 (or simply take a supplement like this one for example).

According to several studies, zinc supplementation can decrease prolactin levels, too.

It must be realized that people who design clinical studies are seldom interested in testing supplements or compounds freely available on the market and patent-free. However, I found this old study from in which increasing doses of zinc were given to normal adult men and women. The results showed prolactin levels significantly decreased in all subjects in response to zinc supplementation.

If you want to change your diet to support low prolactin, then you may want to know that foods high in B6 and zinc include potatoes, bananas, wild salmon, shellfish, beef, and beans. However, if I were again trying to get pregnant at 35 plus, then I would take supplements in addition to the diet.

One more word about zinc: Women who are already pregnant as well as women who are breastfeeding require about 15 milligrams of zinc daily. For those who are trying to conceive, zinc can be consumed as a supplement at a dosage such as those tested in the linked study (50 milligrams a day).

Would you like to know my opinon on your fertility journey? Please send me an e-mail and we’ll set up a Skype-consultation at a time that works best for you!

3. There are articles on the Internet related to the ability of the antioxidants S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM) and vitamin E to lower prolactin levels. While I could find some that supported the use of SAM for lowering prolactin (once tested in depressed patients), I wasn’t able to find much scientific support for either of these compounds in women with fertility issues. Still, if you decide you would like to try, it is recommended to take 300–400 IU of vitamin E per day. Recommended dosage for lowering prolactin with SAM is 400–1200 mg per day.

More Articles

  1. Supplements to Reduce Estrogen
  2. Foods That Lower Prolactin
  3. The Health Benefits of Fo-Ti
  4. Herbs That Raise Estrogen Level
  5. What Can You Naturally Do for Low Progesterone?
  • Diet
  • Botanical Medicine
  • Homeopathy

Prolactin is a hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland and is responsible for breast changes during pregnancy and lactation following delivery. High prolactin, also called hyperprolactinemia, happens when the pituitary gland secretes too much prolactin. Certain drugs, pituitary tumors and hypothyroid disease can cause hyperprolactinemia. In her book, “Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine,” Tori Hudson, N.D., describes the symptoms of high prolactin experienced by women who are not pregnant or nursing 2. They include breast engorgement and pain, disruptions in menstruation, and spontaneous breast milk production and flow. According to Alan Wein, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Division of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and chief of urology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, hyperprolactinemia is also responsible for infertility and erectile dysfunction in men 4. When using natural therapies, best results are achieved under the supervision of a holistically trained physician, such as a naturopathic doctor.

A whole foods diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens, is thought to optimize anyone’s health. The diet should also include whole grains; legumes, especially soybeans; nuts and seeds; and cold-water fish. Beyond this, certain foods emerge as specifically beneficial in lowering prolactin levels. According to Oregon State University’s Micronutrient Information Center, several studies point out a link between vitamin B6 deficiency and hyperprolactinemia 1. Consider eating more foods containing vitamin B6, such as:

  • potatoes
  • bananas
  • wild salmon
  • chicken
  • spinach

Also, according to a study published in “The Lancet,” supplementation with zinc decreased prolactin levels in the participants. Foods high in zinc include shellfish, beef, turkey and beans. Consulting your doctor before making any major dietary changes or taking nutritional supplements is advised.

What is a prolactin levels test?

A prolactin (PRL) test measures the level of prolactin in the blood. Prolactin is a hormone made by the pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain. Prolactin causes the breasts to grow and make milk during pregnancy and after birth. Prolactin levels are normally high for pregnant women and new mothers. Levels are normally low for nonpregnant women and for men.

If prolactin levels are higher than normal, it often means there is a type of tumor of the pituitary gland, known as a prolactinoma. This tumor makes the gland produce too much prolactin. Excess prolactin can cause the production of breast milk in men and in women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. In women, too much prolactin can also cause menstrual problems and infertility (the inability to get pregnant). In men, it can lead to lower sex drive and erectile dysfunction (ED). Also known as impotence, ED is the inability to get or maintain an erection.

Prolactinomas are usually benign (noncancerous). But left untreated, these tumors can damage surrounding tissues.

Other names: PRL test, prolactin blood test

What is it used for?

A prolactin levels test is most often used to:

  • Diagnose a prolactinoma (a type of tumor of the pituitary gland)
  • Help find the cause of a woman’s menstrual irregularities and/or infertility
  • Help find the cause of a man’s low sex drive and/or erectile dysfunction

Why do I need a prolactin levels test?

You may need this test if you have symptoms of a prolactinoma. Symptoms may include:

  • Production of breast milk if you are not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Nipple discharge
  • Headaches
  • Changes in vision

Other symptoms are different depending on whether you are a man or woman. If you are a woman, symptoms also depend on whether you have gone through menopause. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods have stopped and she can’t become pregnant anymore. It usually starts when a woman is around 50 years old.

Symptoms of excess prolactin in women who have not gone through menopause include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Periods that have stopped completely before the age of 40. This is known as premature menopause.
  • Infertility
  • Breast tenderness

Women who have gone through menopause may not have symptoms until the condition worsens. Excess prolactin after menopause often causes hypothyroidism. In this condition, the body does not make enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle pain
  • Constipation
  • Trouble tolerating cold temperatures

Symptoms of excess prolactin in men include:

  • Nipple discharge
  • Breast enlargement
  • Low sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decrease in body hair

What happens during a prolactin levels test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You will need to take your test about three to four hours after waking up. Prolactin levels change throughout the day, but are usually the highest in early morning.

Be sure to tell your health care provider about any medicines you are taking. Certain medicines can raise prolactin levels. These include birth control pills, high blood pressure medicine, and antidepressants.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

If your results show higher than normal prolactin levels, it may mean you have one of the following conditions:

  • Prolactinoma (a type of tumor of the pituitary gland)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • A disease of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is an area of the brain that controls the pituitary gland and other body functions.
  • Liver disease

If your results show high prolactin levels, your health care provider may order an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test to get a closer look at your pituitary gland.

High prolactin levels may be treated with medicine or surgery. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

In this Article

  • Causes of Abnormal Prolactin Levels
  • How the Test Is Done
  • If Your Prolactin Levels Are High
  • If Your Levels Are Low
  • Treatment

A prolactin (PRL) test measures how much of a hormone called prolactin you have in your blood. The hormone is made in your pituitary gland, which is located just below your brain.

When women are pregnant or have just given birth, their prolactin levels increase so they can make breast milk. But it’s possible to have high prolactin levels if you’re not pregnant, and even if you’re a man.

Your doctor may order a prolactin test when you report having the following symptoms:

For women

  • Irregular or no periods
  • Infertility
  • Breast milk discharge when you’re not pregnant or nursing
  • Tenderness in your breast
  • Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness

For men

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty in getting an erection
  • Breast tenderness or enlargement
  • Breast milk production (very rare)

For both

  • Unexplained headaches
  • Vision problems

Causes of Abnormal Prolactin Levels

Normally, men and nonpregnant women have just small traces of prolactin in their blood. When you have high levels, this could be caused by:

  • Prolactinoma (a benign tumor in your pituitary gland that produces too much prolactin)
  • Diseases affecting the hypothalamus(the part of the brain that controls the pituitary gland)
  • Anorexia(an eating disorder)
  • Drugs that are used to treat depression, psychosis, and high blood pressure
  • Chest injury or irritation (for example, scars, shingles, or even a bra that’s too tight)

Also, kidney disease, liver failure, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (a hormone imbalance that affects ovaries) all can affect the body’s ability to remove prolactin.

How the Test Is Done

You don’t need to make any special preparations for a prolactin test. You will get a blood sample taken at a lab or a hospital. A lab worker will insert a needle into a vein in your arm to take out a small amount of blood.

Some people feel just a little sting. Others might feel moderate pain and see slight bruising afterwards.

After a few days, you’ll get the results of your prolactin test in the form of a number.

The normal range for prolactin in your blood are:

  • Males: 2 to 18 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL)
  • Nonpregnant females: 2 to 29 ng/mL
  • Pregnant females: 10 to 209 ng/mL

If Your Prolactin Levels Are High

If your value falls outside the normal range, this doesn’t automatically mean you have a problem. Sometimes the levels can be higher if you’ve eaten or were under a lot of stress when you got your blood test.

Also, what’s considered a normal range may be different depending on which lab your doctor uses.

Continued

If your levels are very high — up to 1,000 times the upper limit of what’s considered normal — this could be a sign that you have prolactinoma. This tumor is not cancer, and it is usually treated with medicine. In this case, your doctor may want you to get an MRI.

You’ll lie inside a magnetic tube as the MRI device uses radio waves to put together a detailed image of your brain. It will show whether there’s a mass near your pituitary gland and, if so, how big it is.

If Your Levels Are Low

If your prolactin levels are below the normal range, this could mean your pituitary gland isn’t working at full steam. That’s known as hypopituitarism. Lower levels of prolactin usually do not need medical treatment.

Certain drugs can cause low levels of prolactin. They include:

  • Dopamine (Intropine), which is given to people in shock
  • Levodopa (for Parkinson’s disease)
  • Ergot alkaloid derivatives (for severe headaches)

Treatment

Not all cases of high prolactin levels need to be treated.

Your treatment will depend on the diagnosis. If it turns out to be a small prolactinoma or a cause can’t be found, your doctor may recommend no treatment at all.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medicine to lower prolactin levels. If you have a prolactinoma, the goal is to use medicine to reduce the size of the tumor and lower the amount of prolactin.

Sources

University of Rochester Medical Center: “Prolactin.”

American Association for Clinical Chemistry: “Prolactin.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: High prolactin levels and prolactinomas (Beyond the Basics).”

UCLA Health: “Prolactinoma.”

Mayo Clinic: “Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid).”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Hypothalmic dysfunction.”

American Society for Reproductive Medicine: “Fact Sheet: What is Prolactin?”

Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.”

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: “Prolactin Blood Test.”

American Association for Clinical Chemistry. “Hypopituitarism.”

University of California, San Francisco: “Levodopa.”

Mayo Clinic: “Headache Medicine Ergot-Derivative-Containing (Oral Route, Parenteral Route, Rectal Route).”

Prolactin is a hormone present in the blood made by the pituitary gland. Knowing prolactin levels- normal range, high and low is of very much importance, especially for women who are pregnant or have just given birth.

What Are Prolactin Levels?

Prolactin level is the amount of prolactin present in the blood. Prolactin is the hormone responsible for the growth of breasts and the making of milk in women at the time of pregnancy and after delivery. Prolactin levels during breastfeeding and prolactin levels during pregnancy are usually higher than in normal conditions.

Coming to men a normal level of this hormone is important for good sex drive and a proper erection.

What Is The Prolactin Levels Test?

A prolactin (PRL) test tries to figure out the amount of prolactin present in the blood. Presence of high prolactin levels in women who aren’t new mothers or pregnant signals an unwanted condition. The same applies to men.

The doctor could suggest the prolactin test when the report has the below symptoms;

For Women

  • No or irregular periods
  • Infertility
  • You must Discharge milk from the breast when not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Tenderness in the breast
  • Menopausal signs like vaginal dryness or hot flashes.

For Men

  • Reduced sex drive
  • Trouble achieving an erection
  • Breast enlargement or tenderness
  • Production of breast milk (very rare)

For Both

  • Inexplicable headaches
  • Vision difficulties

How Is The Prolactin Test Done?

One need not take any kind of special measures for the test. A blood sample is taken using a needle in the lab which is then examined. Usually, the results take a few days.

Prolactin Levels Normal Range

The normal prolactin range in the blood are;

  • Non-pregnant females : 2 to 29 ng/mL
  • Pregnant females : 10 to 209 ng/mL
  • Males : 2 to 18 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL)

Prolactin Levels High

If the levels fall above the standard range there is nothing to panic and this does not spontaneously say there’s an issue. At times, levels may be high if one has eaten or was under stress. Besides, the normal range differs based on the lab too.

It is a problem only when the levels are extremely high – about 1,000 times higher than the normal range which indicates prolactinoma.

Prolactin levels high in males can lead to disruption of sperm and testosterone productions.

Causes Of High Prolactin Levels

Usually, non-pregnant women and men have just a little prolactin traces in the blood. When there are high levels the causes may be;

  • Illnesses affecting the hypothalamus(the part of the brain that is in charge of controlling the pituitary gland)
  • Prolactinoma (a benign tumor in the pituitary gland that secretes too much quantity of prolactin)
  • Anorexia(a disorder related to eating)
  • Medications used to treat psychosis, high blood pressure, and depression
  • Chest irritation or injury or irritation (for instance shingles, scars, or for that instance a tight bra)

Besides, liver failure, kidney failure, and polycystic ovarian syndrome can also disturb the body’s capability to eliminate prolactin.

Prolactin Levels Low

If the prolactin levels are lower than the normal standard, this may indicate that the pituitary gland is not working at its full capacity which is called hypopituitarism. Low levels of prolactin generally don’t ask for a medical cure.

Causes Of Low Prolactin Levels

A few drugs lead to this situation such as;

  • Dopamine (Intropine) – Administered to people going through shock
  • Levodopa (given to treat Parkinson’s disease)
  • Ergot alkaloid derivatives (to treat harsh headaches)

How To Lower Prolactin Levels Naturally?

  • Lower alcohol, particularly beer as barley in it stimulates prolactin. Do not cross 4 alcoholic beverages in 7 days.
  • Treat any underlying problem with thyroid or lesser eating.
  • Lower stress with meditation, yoga, and other mind and body coordinating activities.
  • Consider having vitamin B6 supplements or foods as it lessens prolactin by increasing dopamine-neurotransmitter.
  • Balance your glucose levels as high glucose leads to high prolactin levels.
  • Taking Vitex is also one natural way to treat the condition.
  • Check if you have a tumor in your pituitary gland as its presence leads to increased prolactin secretion.
  • Cure your kidney and liver ailments if any.
  • A perfect thyroid condition is essential to maintain a perfect prolactin level.

How To Raise Prolactin Levels?

  1. Take vitamin B6 & E rich foods
  2. Eat foods rich in barley
  3. If you are a woman breastfeed or pump every 3 hours

Actually knowing prolactin levels- normal range, high and low is very essential during pregnancy and breastfeeding if you are a woman under these conditions go for the test to avoid unwanted complications.

How to lower prolactin levels

Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.