WebMD
Font Size

Prolactin

Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in both men and women. In women, it prepares breasts to produce milk (lactate). In men, prolactin's function is not well understood.

In a lactating woman, more prolactin is produced when her breasts are emptied frequently, resulting in more milk production. Less frequent emptying of the breasts reduces the amount of prolactin produced, which in turn reduces the milk supply. Above-normal prolactin levels in women can cause ovulation to stop.

Above-normal levels of prolactin can indicate a problem with the pituitary gland that may affect reproductive functions.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedApril 12, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 12, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.