Prolactin is a hormone present in the blood made by the pituitary gland. Knowing prolactin levels- normal range, high and low is very much importance, especially for women who are pregnant or have just given birth.
What Are Prolactin Levels?
Prolactin level is the amount of prolactin present in the blood. It is the hormone responsible for the growth of breasts and the making of milk in women at the time of pregnancy and after delivery. Prolactin levels during breastfeeding and prolactin levels during pregnancy are usually higher than in normal conditions.
Coming to men a normal level of this hormone is important for good sex drive and a proper erection.
What Is The Prolactin Levels Test?
A prolactin (PRL) test tries to figure out the amount of prolactin present in the blood. Presence of high prolactin levels in women who aren’t new mothers or pregnant signals an unwanted condition. The same applies to men.
The doctor could suggest the prolactin test when the report has the below symptoms;
- No or irregular periods
- You must Discharge milk from the breast when not pregnant or breastfeeding
- Tenderness in the breast
- Menopausal signs like vaginal dryness or hot flashes.
- Reduced sex drive
- Trouble achieving an erection
- Breast enlargement or tenderness
- Production of breast milk (very rare)
- Inexplicable headaches
- Vision difficulties
How Is The Prolactin Test Done?
One need not take any kind of special measures for the test. A blood sample is taken using a needle in the lab which is then examined. Usually, the results take a few days.
Prolactin Levels Normal Range
The normal prolactin range in the blood are;
- Non-pregnant females: 2 to 29 ng/mL
- Pregnant females: 10 to 209 ng/mL
- Males: 2 to 18 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL)
Prolactin Levels High
If the levels fall above the standard range there is nothing to panic and this does not spontaneously say there’s an issue. At times, levels may be high if one has eaten or was under stress. Besides, the normal range differs based on the lab too.
It is a problem only when the levels are extremely high – about 1,000 times higher than the normal range which indicates prolactinoma.
Prolactin levels high in males can lead to disruption of sperm and testosterone productions.
Causes Of High Prolactin Levels
Usually, non-pregnant women and men have just a little prolactin traces in the blood. When there are high levels the causes may be;
- Illnesses affecting the hypothalamus(the part of the brain that is in charge of controlling the pituitary gland)
- Prolactinoma (a benign tumor in the pituitary gland that secretes too much quantity of prolactin)
- Anorexia(a disorder related to eating)
- Medications used to treat psychosis, high blood pressure, and depression
- Chest irritation or injury or irritation (for instance shingles, scars, or for that instance a tight bra)
Besides, liver failure, kidney failure, and polycystic ovarian syndrome can also disturb the body’s capability to eliminate prolactin.
Prolactin Levels Low
If the prolactin levels are lower than the normal standard, this may indicate that the pituitary gland is not working at its full capacity which is called hypopituitarism. Low levels of prolactin generally don’t ask for a medical cure.
Causes Of Low Prolactin Levels
A few drugs lead to this situation such as;
- Dopamine (Intropine)– Administered to people going through shock
- Levodopa (given to treat Parkinson’s disease)
- Ergot alkaloid derivatives (to treat harsh headaches)
How To Lower Prolactin Levels Naturally?
- Lower alcohol, particularly beer as barley in it stimulates prolactin. Do not cross 4 alcoholic beverages in 7 days.
- Treat any underlying problem with thyroid or lesser eating.
- Lower stress with meditation, yoga, and other mind and body coordinating activities.
- Consider having vitamin B6 supplements or foods as it lessens prolactin by increasing dopamine-neurotransmitter.
- Balance your glucose levels as high glucose leads to high prolactin levels.
- Taking Vitex is also one natural way to treat the condition.
- Check if you have a tumor in your pituitary gland as its presence leads to increased prolactin secretion.
- Cure your kidney and liver ailments if any.
- A perfect thyroid condition is essential to maintain a perfect prolactin level.
How To Raise Prolactin Levels?
- Take vitamin B6 & E rich foods
- Eat foods rich in barley
- If you are a woman breastfeed or pump every 3 hours
Actually knowing prolactin levels- normal range, high and low is very essential during pregnancy and breastfeeding if you are a woman under these conditions go for the test to avoid unwanted complications.
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.