Hormones are substances that regulate literally all functions of our body. They affect a person’s mood, metabolism, stimulate immunity and perform many other tasks. And naturally, hormones are largely responsible for the prolongation of the family, the correct course of pregnancy and the care of newborn children. But what if the level of one of the hormones in the body is too high? How will disturbed hormonal balance affect the body? What will be the consequences?
Why does prolactin rise?
Prolactin is known to most people as a hormone that induces lactation. Indeed, most of the functions of prolactin are associated with breastfeeding. However, he has other “responsibilities”, so prolactin is normally produced not only in the female, but also in the male body. This hormone affects the levels of estrogen and testosterone, as well as a number of other hormones, increases immunity and affects libido, and also regulates the sensitivity to pain.
Increased prolactin levels are called hyperprolactinemia. Elevated prolactin levels can appear in the body for a variety of reasons.
Natural hyperprolactinemia – during pregnancy and lactation.
Stress, anxiety, severe pain.
Physical activity, training.
Taking medications: contraceptives, antipsychotics, antidepressants, etc.
Pathological causes: neoplasms in the pituitary gland, hormonal imbalance due to thyroid dysfunction, renal and hepatic failure, breast surgery, chemotherapy.
Hypersecretion – cells for no apparent reason begin to produce more prolactin than the body needs. This condition is called idiopathic hyperprolactinemia.
Symptoms of hyperprolactinemia in women and men:
decreased sex drive;
swelling of the nipples is possible;
discharge of milk substance from the nipples.
Symptoms of increased prolactin, characteristic exclusively for women:
failure or complete disappearance of menstruation;
the inability to get pregnant with a healthy partner.
When the norm is exceeded, the lactation hormone especially strongly affects the female body. Frigidity, enlargement of the mammary glands (up to the fact that surgery is required), the formation of breast cysts, cancer and infertility, even mental illness – all this can happen with increased prolactin in women.
In case of problems with pregnancy, a woman’s analysis for the level of prolactin is included in the list of priorities.
Can ovulation occur with increased prolactin?
Prolactin is involved in the regulation of the menstrual cycle. With an increased level of prolactin, ovulation is somewhat inhibited, the amount of estrogen produced by the ovaries and progesterone, which is produced by the corpus luteum, decreases. Because of this, the formation of the endometrium in the uterus is disrupted, and menstruation may even disappear. As a result, even if ovulation occurs, the female body is not ready to “accept” a new life. This mechanism was conceived by nature to prevent a woman from becoming pregnant while breastfeeding. However, if prolactin is elevated for other reasons, the body will still behave as described above.
Increased prolactin is sometimes said to suppress ovulation. However, this is not true – it inhibits the process of maturation of the egg and its release from the ovary. Therefore, when ovulation occurs, the sperm can fertilize the egg with increased prolactin. However, the embryo will not be able to attach to the wall of the uterus and pregnancy will not occur.
That is why, when a woman is planning a pregnancy, it is imperative to check the level of prolactin and reduce it if it is above normal.
How is elevated prolactin treated?
If prolactin is elevated in a woman, treatment begins with determining the cause and eliminating it. In the most common case – when idiopathic hyperprolactinemia is observed – treatment is divided into two types: in the absence of plans to become pregnant and treatment when planning pregnancy. At the same time, the treatment of women and men does not differ if the woman does not plan a child.
For men and women with elevated prolactin, drugs from the group of dopamine agonists can be used. Only a doctor can prescribe such a drug and its dosage.
In the case of a planned pregnancy or with moderate hyperprolactinemia, more gentle and non-hormonal drugs are prescribed. The extract of sacred vitex has proven itself well, which gently acts on the pituitary gland and normalizes the production of prolactin without harm to health.
The sacred vitex extract is contained in the drug Pregnoton , which has undergone clinical studies and has been shown to be effective in hyperprolactinemia in women. It is important that at normal prolactin levels, Pregnoton does not affect its secretion. Pregnoton is recommended for women with reduced fertility in preparation for pregnancy.