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What causes abnormal prolactin (PRL) levels?

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

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.

  • Prolactinoma (a benign tumor in your pituitary gland that produces too much prolactin)
  • Hypothyroidism (your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough hormones)
  • 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)

From: What is a Prolactin Test? WebMD Medical Reference

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).”

National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine: “The clinical use of dopamine in the treatment of shock.”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on January 22, 2017

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).”

National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine: “The clinical use of dopamine in the treatment of shock.”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on January 22, 2017

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