What Is The Normal Level Of Prolactin?

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Prolactin blood test is done to assess the reproductive health of women.

Prolactin is a peptide hormone produced inside your pituitary gland located under your brain. It has important functions in females e.g., prolactin stimulates breast development and breast milk production. It has no known function in males.

Why you may need a prolactin blood test?

It is a routinely prescribed clinical test in infertility clinics. The doctor may ask you to undergo a prolactin test to measure if you have a history of the following:

  • Lack of cyclicity in females (amenorrhea) or irregular periods

  • Milk let down in the breasts without any childbirth (galactorrhoea)

  • Unable to conceive or maintain pregnancy

  • Low sexual desire in any the gender

  • Tenderness in breasts

  • Symptoms of menopause e.g., vaginal dryness at an earlier age.

  • Difficulty to achieve and maintain an erection

  • Breasts enlargement in males

  • Headaches of unknown origin

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Visual impairment

Some changes in the prolactin levels are physiological. For example, pregnancy and the recent delivery of a baby can raise prolactin levels while lack of breastfeeding with the baby can cause decreased levels of prolactin.

How is prolactin measured?

The prolactin produced by the pituitary enters the blood circulation. So, its level is measured in the blood. Whenever you take an appointment for a pathological laboratory, the technician will take the blood sample from your veins and isolate the extracted serum.

What is the normal range of prolactin levels?

The normal range of prolactin varies from individual to individual. You should go to the pathologist who will interpret these results. However, the following reference values for blood prolactin levels could be used as guidelines.

  • Adult men: <20 micrograms/L or ng/ml

  • For non pregnant women: <25micrograms/ L or Ng/ml

  • For pregnant women: 80-400 micrograms/ L or Ng/m

Keep in mind that interpretation of results is not your job. The values may differ from lab to lab and from person to person. Always seek the advice of a pathologist for the interpretation of results.

What changes prolactin levels?

The prolactin levels can be disturbed due to several pathological as well as non-pathological factors. The lowered to elevated prolactin level could mean that you have the following conditions.,

  • Pituitary tumours

  • Cessation of menstrual periods

  • Kidney diseases

  • Some other diseases of the pituitary gland

  • underactive thyroid and disturbed production of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism)

  • Chest irritation or injury

  • Brain diseases lead to a damaged hypothalamus (that controls the functions of the pituitary gland).

  • The use of a lot of medications can also disturb your prolactin profile. These medicines include., Reserpine, H2 blockers, antidepressants, hormones (e.g., oestrogens), methyldopa, opiate analgesics, metoclopramide etc...

If your prolactin levels are found to be exceptionally high, the doctor may ask you to repeat the test after 6-8 hours of fasting. He can ask you to undergo tests for kidney diseases and pituitary tumours.

A temporary increase in the prolactin levels should not worry you as it could be due to different temporary issues e.g., physical or emotional disturbances, heavy exercises, high protein diets, breast growth stimulants etc...

End note

The prolactin test gives you a hint about your sexual health. Given the complexity of the causes of disturbing levels, you need to go to the endocrinologist (a doctor who specialises in hormonal problems). Some causes of elevated levels e.g., kidney disease/ pituitary tumour need immediate medical assistance.

For a full range of medications, visit our Welzo Online Pharmacy Page. 

We also offer a Prolactin Blood Test, important in understanding your reproductive health.

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