At the base of your brain, there lies a pituitary gland. It has a small size and regulates various bodily functions. The pituitary gland releases hormones that affect merely every organ and regulate various functions of your body. If it does not work well, your bodily functions may get affected.
Prolactinoma is the non-cancerous tumor of the pituitary gland in which your body secretes too much prolactin hormone. Prolactin is a hormone that causes your breasts to grow and enhance milk production. Its levels get high in a pregnant and lactating woman who has to breastfeed her child. However, in prolactinoma, your body starts to secrete more and more prolactin, without any pregnancy or breastfeeding. Even prolactinoma can occur in men too. Often it is treatable with the help of medications.
Prolactinoma can affect your body in various ways by altering other hormones. It lowers your sex drive and makes it painful due to vaginal dryness. If you have any symptoms of prolactinoma, you must seek professional help. It can lead to various complications. Therefore please do not leave it untreated. To get an expert opinion, you can visit the Best Endocrinologist in Lahore.
Menstruating women can notice the symptoms of prolactinoma earlier than those who are post-menopausal. It happens because prolactinoma causes your periods to get missed. Therefore your periods may become irregular, and you may mistake them for perimenopausal symptoms. However, when the menstrual cycle gets affected in young women, they report to the healthcare provider early.
To treat the condition, your healthcare provider will prescribe medications. Make sure to take them on time. However, in some cases, they may also recommend surgery.
What Are The Symptoms Of Prolactinoma?
Prolactinoma may not cause any symptoms. However, it causes your prolactin level to rise. Therefore high prolactin levels can cause the following symptoms.
The symptoms of a prolactinoma may differ in men and women. Most commonly, it disrupts your reproductive cycle and causes hypogonadism.
In women, prolactinoma can cause:
- Absence of periods or irregular cycles
- Milk discharge from breasts even when not pregnant or breastfeeding
- Vaginal dryness that causes painful sex
- Excessive facial hair growth
In men, it can cause:
- Decreased body and facial hair
- Smaller muscles
- Erectile dysfunction
- Enlarged breasts
The symptoms common in both men and women are:
- Impaired fertility
- Loss of interest in sexual activity
- Osteoporosis- weak and thin bones
The tumor in the pituitary causes pressure. It can cause the following symptoms:
- Vision problems
- Alteration in other hormones produced by the pituitary gland
What Causes Prolactinoma?
Prolactinoma has no exact cause. The pituitary gland is a bean-shaped gland in which a tumor grows and causes the gland to secrete more prolactin hormone. The pituitary gland regulates various bodily functions. It secretes hormones that help maintain blood pressure, growth, metabolism, and reproduction.
When too much prolactin is produced, your sex hormones, estrogen, and testosterone levels are lowered. It causes a loss of interest in sex. And in women, it becomes painful because when estrogen levels are low, vaginal thinning occurs.
Your prolactin level may rise in your body other than prolactinoma. It can happen due to following reasons:
- Kidney disease
- Other types of pituitary tumors
- Underactive thyroid gland
What Are The Risk Factors For Prolactinoma?
There are no such risk factors for prolactinoma. However, it is more common in women compared to men.
What Are The Complications Of Prolactinoma?
Prolactinoma causes high levels of prolactin hormone. If it remains untreated for a long time, it can cause:
A common complication of prolactinoma is infertility. It happens because it lowers the male and female sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen respectively. In men, it can reduce sperm count, and in women, it disrupts the menstrual cycle. Sometimes, it can also cause anovulation- a condition in which an egg is not released by the ovaries.
Reduced testosterone and progesterone can reduce bone strength, eventually leading to weak and thin bones.
The tumor may grow in size and press the optic nerve. It can lead to loss of peripheral vision. Therefore it needs to be treated soon.
Low Levels Of Other Pituitary Hormones
When too much pressure is exerted on the pituitary gland, its healthy parts may also be affected. It can cause your other hormones to lower down, thereby affecting bodily functions.