Despite prolactin is mainly associated with lactation, its small amounts are normally present in the human organism regardless of sex. This hormone is mainly needed for the production of breast milk and maternal instinct in pregnant and nursing women.
Speaking about men, this hormone affects the production of testosterone, male libido and sperm production. Hence, even slight changes in the levels of prolactin may significantly reflect on the male sexual function. By the way, it is scientifically proven that men who are fathers have higher prolactin levels compared to those who haven’t become parents yet.
Why women may need a prolactin test?
As the impact of the hormone on males and females is different, they may have different symptoms which may signal prolactin imbalance. So, in what cases should a woman check her prolactin?
- Irregular menstrual cycle not associated with pregnancy;
- Female infertility;
- Secretion of breast milk in women who haven’t given birth to a child and are not pregnant;
- Abnormal hairiness of the face and body;
- Prolactinoma symptoms (headaches, vision disturbances);
Why should men be tested?
Some of the male symptoms are similar to those in women, yet some of them are completely different:
- Erectile dysfunction;
- Low libido, loss of interest in sex;
- Male infertility;
- Decreased function of testicles;
- Low testosterone levels;
- Prolactinoma symptoms;
- Lack of facial and body hair.
What do the test results mean?
Low quantities of prolactin in the blood are not a reason for concern either for men or women. On the contrary, the elevated level of the hormone may mean that you have:
- Kidney or liver disease;
- Low function of the thyroid gland;
- A pituitary gland tumor.
Besides, an excess of prolactin may be the cause of difficulties with getting pregnant in women and impregnating a woman in men. That’s why if you have any of the enumerated symptoms or even a combination of several of them, you’d better ask your healthcare provider for a prolactin checkup.