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    Hyperprolactinemia: How High Prolactin Levels Can Affect Your Chances of Conception


    Hyperprolactinemia: How High Prolactin Levels Can Affect Your Chances of Conception

    Updated on 7 September 2023

    Medically Reviewed by

    Dr. Shruti Tanwar

    C-section & gynae problems - MBBS| MS (OBS & Gynae)

    Imagine a complex puzzle inside your body, where hormones work together to create the perfect environment for getting pregnant. One important hormone in this puzzle is prolactin, which is usually associated with breastfeeding. However, when prolactin levels become too high, it can disrupt the delicate balance and affect your ability to conceive. Hyperprolactinemia is a condition where elevated prolactin levels can interfere with your chances of getting pregnant.

    In this article, we will explore how high prolactin levels can impact your fertility journey, from causing problems with ovulation to making it difficult for an embryo to implant. Let's uncover the connections between prolactin and conception and understand the challenges of hyperprolactinemia along the way.

    Symptoms of Hyperprolactinemia

    High prolactin symptoms are as follows:

    1. Irregular or absent menstrual periods

    2. Milky discharge from the breasts (galactorrhea) unrelated to breastfeeding

    3. Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant

    4. Decreased sex drive

    5. Vaginal dryness

    6. Headaches

    7. Vision problems

    8. Acne or excessive hair growth (in some cases)

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    Causes of High Prolactin Levels

    The causes of high prolactin, or hyperprolactinemia, can vary. Here are some common factors that can contribute to elevated prolactin levels:

    1. Prolactinoma

    This is a benign tumor of the pituitary gland that produces excess prolactin. Prolactinomas are the most common cause of hyperprolactinemia.

    2. Medications

    Certain medications, such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and some hormone treatments, can increase prolactin levels.

    You may like: Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) : Type, Side Effects & Treatment

    3. Hypothyroidism

    An underactive thyroid gland can lead to increased prolactin production.

    4. Stress and physical stimulation

    Stressful events, chest wall stimulation, nipple stimulation, and sexual activity can temporarily elevate prolactin levels.

    5. Other causes

    Certain conditions, such as kidney disease and liver disease can also contribute to high prolactin levels.

    Effects of High Prolactin Levels on Conception

    High prolactin levels can have significant effects on conception and fertility. Here are some ways in which elevated prolactin can impact the ability to conceive:

    1. Disrupted ovulation

    Prolactin inhibits the release of certain hormones that are necessary for ovulation. This can lead to irregular or absent menstrual cycles, making it difficult to predict fertile periods and conceive.

    2. Suppressed fertility hormones

    Elevated prolactin can interfere with the production of other fertility hormones, such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones are essential for the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries.

    3. Decreased libido

    High levels of prolactin can reduce sexual desire, which may impact the frequency of intercourse and, consequently, the chances of conception.

    4. Impaired sperm production

    In men, elevated prolactin can disrupt the production and function of sperm, leading to decreased sperm count, motility, and overall sperm quality.

    5. Increased risk of miscarriage

    Hyperprolactinemia has been associated with an increased risk of early pregnancy loss or miscarriage.

    Effects of Hyperprolactactinemia on Breastfeeding

    Hyperprolactinemia, or high prolactin levels, can have both positive and negative effects on breastfeeding. Here are some ways in which elevated prolactin can impact breastfeeding:

    1. Increased milk production

    Prolactin is the hormone responsible for stimulating milk production in the breasts. Higher levels of prolactin can lead to an abundant milk supply, which can be beneficial for breastfeeding mothers.

    2. Breast engorgement

    Excessive prolactin levels can contribute to breast engorgement, which is a condition characterized by swollen and painful breasts due to an overabundance of milk. This can make breastfeeding uncomfortable for the mother.

    3. Oversupply issues

    Hyperprolactinemia can sometimes lead to an oversupply of milk, causing the baby to struggle with breastfeeding. It can result in difficulties with latching, excessive milk flow, and potential issues such as choking or gagging.

    4. Delayed or irregular menstrual cycles

    High prolactin levels can suppress ovulation and delay or disrupt the return of menstrual cycles in breastfeeding mothers. This can affect fertility and the ability to conceive again.

    Diagnosis of Hyperprolactinemia

    If you suspect any high prolactin symptoms, it is important to get it diagnosed. The diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia, or high prolactin levels, involves several steps to determine the underlying causes of high prolactin and confirm the condition.

    1. Medical history and physical examination

    The healthcare provider will gather information about your symptoms, menstrual history, medications, and any relevant medical conditions. A physical examination may be conducted to check for signs such as milk discharge from the breasts.

    2. Blood tests

    A blood test is performed to measure the levels of prolactin in the blood. Typically, the test is done in the morning after an overnight fast because prolactin levels are usually highest during that time.

    3. Repeat testing

    In case the initial prolactin levels are elevated, the test may be repeated to confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes, stress or other factors can temporarily increase prolactin levels, so a single abnormal result may not be conclusive.

    4. Imaging studies

    In some cases, additional imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans may be recommended to assess the pituitary gland and rule out any structural abnormalities or tumors.

    5. Hormonal tests

    Depending on the individual case, other hormone tests may be performed to evaluate the function of other endocrine glands, such as the thyroid or adrenal glands. This helps identify potential underlying causes of hyperprolactinemia.

    Treatment Options for High Prolactin Levels

    The treatment for high prolactin levels, or hyperprolactinemia, depends on the underlying cause and the individual's specific circumstances. Here are some common treatment options:

    1. Medications

    The primary approach to treating hyperprolactinemia is medication. The most commonly prescribed medications are dopamine agonists, such as cabergoline or bromocriptine. These medications work by reducing the production of prolactin and restoring normal levels.

    2. Surgical intervention

    In certain cases, such as when a tumor or other structural abnormality is causing the high prolactin levels, surgery may be necessary.

    3. Lifestyle modifications

    Certain lifestyle changes may help manage hyperprolactinemia. This may include stress reduction techniques, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a balanced diet. These lifestyle modifications can help support overall hormonal balance and optimize fertility.

    4. Regular monitoring

    Once treatment is initiated, regular monitoring of prolactin levels is necessary to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and make any necessary adjustments. This may involve periodic blood tests and follow-up appointments with the healthcare provider.

    Natural Remedies for Hyperprolactinemia

    While medication and medical interventions are typically the primary approaches to treating hyperprolactinemia, there are some natural remedies and lifestyle modifications that may help in managing the condition. Here are some natural remedies that may be beneficial:

    1. Stress management

    Chronic stress can contribute to hormonal imbalances, including elevated prolactin levels. Engaging in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies you enjoy can help promote relaxation and hormonal balance.

    2. Herbal supplements

    Certain herbs have been traditionally used to support hormonal balance. For example, Vitex agnus-castus (chasteberry) is often recommended for hormonal disorders, including hyperprolactinemia.

    3. Nutritional adjustments

    A well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can support overall hormonal health. Including foods that are high in vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium, such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, may be beneficial.

    4. Regular exercise

    Engaging in regular physical activity can help regulate hormone levels and promote overall well-being. Aim for moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, for at least 30 minutes a day.

    5. Adequate sleep

    Getting enough quality sleep is essential for hormonal balance. Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a sleep-friendly environment to ensure you get sufficient rest.

    Lifestyle Changes to Manage High Prolactin Levels: Tips to Lower Prolactin Naturally

    Managing high prolactin levels often involves a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes. While lifestyle changes alone may not significantly lower prolactin levels, they can complement medical interventions and promote overall hormonal balance. Here are some lifestyle tips that may help in managing high prolactin levels:

    1. Reduce stress

    2. Maintain a healthy weight

    3. Limit alcohol consumption

    4. Get enough sleep

    5. Exercise regularly

    6. Eat a balanced diet

    7. Limit caffeine intake

    8. Stay hydrated

    9. Seek emotional support


    In conclusion, hyperprolactinemia, or high prolactin levels, can have various effects on fertility, conception, and breastfeeding. Whether you are trying to conceive or facing challenges with breastfeeding, understanding the impact of high prolactin levels can help you make informed decisions and seek the necessary support. With proper management and care, it is possible to address hyperprolactinemia and improve your chances of conception and successful breastfeeding.


    1. Majumdar, A., & Mangal, N. (2013). Hyperprolactinemia. Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences, 6(3), 168.

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    Medically Reviewed by

    Dr. Shruti Tanwar

    C-section & gynae problems - MBBS| MS (OBS & Gynae)

    Written by



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