Getting a prolactin PRL test? Here's what you need to know
Prolactin or PRL is a key hormone that is made by the pituitary gland, which is a pea sized organ at the base of the brain. The core function of the prolactin hormone is lactation in women, triggering breast production and milk production.
The Prolactin PRL test is used to diagnose abnormalities that may be occurring due to an imbalance in the hormone. It can be used to diagnose galactorrhoea, which is a milky discharge in non-pregnant women and men. It can also be used to determine the root causes for infertility and sexual health problems in individuals as well.
The best approach is to get a complete PRL test done so that you are completely aware of your current hormone levels. If there are imbalances in your prolactin production, then you can address them with the right treatment and medication. Your doctors can provide the right care at the right time for better prolactin levels management.
What is prolactin?
Prolactin is a key hormone that is directly responsible for the production of milk, breast tissue development, and other critical functions. Its role in lactation makes it an important hormone that women should track especially when aiming to plan for a family.
It is also referred to as lactotropin and PRL, and testing for it is a key way of assessing your overall risk factor. Both dopamine and estrogen control prolactin development and releasing from the pituitary gland. Any imbalances in prolactin can show severe symptoms in the bodies of both men and women.
Why do doctors recommend getting a prolactin PRL test?
Both low and high prolactin levels can be detrimental, which is why your doctor will recommend a prolactin test to check the levels of prolactin in the blood. The test will be able to detect high levels of prolactin, which can lower the production of testosterone and estrogen.
Your prolactin levels are also vital to measure if you have fertility issues. Your pituitary gland may require further assessments, as prolactin is a hormone produced in the pituitary. Your doctor may also want to measure the amount of prolactin in the blood, when they may suspect anovulation due to the excess amount of prolactin.
What is a prolactinoma?
Prolactinoma is a tumour within the pituitary gland which is non-cancerous. It makes the pituitary gland create an excess amount of prolactin, which can lead to complications with fertility, menstrual cycles, lactation, etc.
The tumour also reduces the level of production of estrogen and testosterone, which create secondary complications in the body. That is why testing on time is one of the best ways of preventing the growth of prolactinoma in the body.
While not being life threatening, it can cause serious problems such as vision issues, osteoporosis, etc. You should get a test for FSH, LH, and prolactin on a regular basis if you are prone to experiencing the symptoms.
Understanding the symptoms of prolactin imbalance
There are several symptoms that high or low levels of prolactin can introduce in both men and women. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then you should get a prolactin test done immediately as a part of a complete hormone analysis.
Irregular or lack of menstrual period
Issues with prolactin balance, can lead to irregular periods over time. You may also not have a menstrual period for several months, despite experiencing no other change in your lifestyle. You should get a test done for prolactin if you are experiencing this.
Milky white discharge from breasts
A milky white fluid discharge is a serious symptom that can occur in both men and women, when there are high levels of prolactin. A prolactinoma may cause this symptom, which is why getting tested is key.
If you have gotten all the relevant blood tests done for unexplainable chronic headaches, then getting a hormone test is important. You may have a prolactin imbalance that may be manifesting in the form of headaches.
Excessive body hair growth
The development of acne, facial hair, and excess hair growth on the body can occur when there are unusually higher levels of prolactin in the blood. In fact, a sudden onset of acne is a key sign of a hormonal imbalance.
You may also experience dryness which can emerge as a result of a prolactin imbalance. You can get the right test done to check for your levels of prolactin in the blood.
Complications associated with high prolactin levels
There are certain complications that can arise as a result of high prolactin levels in the blood. That's why getting tested sooner is the right way ahead. You can ensure that you don't experience these complications by getting tested regularly.
Complications with pregnancy
There can be complications when you are pregnant and have high levels of prolactin. There could be a risk of tumour growth in the body, which can cause symptoms such as chronic headaches and blurry vision.
Issues with pituitary gland
Long-term imbalanced prolactin levels can add pressure to the pituitary gland, which can impact its overall output. There can be a risk of underdevelopment of other hormones that are controlled by the gland, such as cortisol and thyroid hormones.
One of the biggest risk factors when it comes to prolactin levels is infertility. You could experience a condition wherein the production of testosterone and estrogen is diminished, due to excess prolactin. The releasing of the egg during the menstrual cycle can also be affected, along with lower sperm production.
A critical complication of long-term high levels of prolactin is osteoporosis, wherein the bones become brittle and you are more susceptible to injuries. If you are experiencing cramping, weakness in your joints, and bone health issues, then getting a prolactin test done is key.
How do I order a prolactin PRL test at home?
You can place an order for a prolactin PRL test at home through MyDiagnostics. You can easily review the testing kit online and add the test to your cart. The prolactin test results can be generated within 48-60 hours, making it one of the more convenient testing solutions for your hormonal health.
You can also connect with us directly to place an order. This can help in answering any questions you may have about the test, giving you complete flexibility and freedom to order a package. You can understand delivery, sample provision, and other key details through talking with us.