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Causes of high prolactin and how to lower it?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Prolactin is a hormone that acts on many functions of our body, from growth, fertility too, most importantly, lactation. There can be many and very different reasons why prolactin rises in the blood, causing what is known as hyperprolactinemia. Drugs, excessive exercise, hypothyroidism, or tumors are some of the possibilities.

Suppose you want to know how to lower high prolactin, this article from FastlyHealwill interest you. You will find information about how to see when this hormone is elevated, what symptoms appear, the causes, and, of course, the possible treatments.

Normal prolactin levels

Prolactin is a hormone made in the pituitary gland, an organ at the base of the brain. Prolactin has different functions, but the most important is initiating and maintaining breastfeeding. Other procedures include water regulation, growth, metabolism, behavior, reproduction, and immunity.

The following are considered to be normal prolactin levels :

  • In men: 2 to 18 ng / mL.
  • In women: 2 to 25 ng / mL.
  • In pregnant women: 10 to 1,000 ng / mL.

In addition to pregnancy, prolactin can be elevated in other daily or physiological situations. In these cases, up to 100 ng / mL is considered normal :

  • Lactation.
  • During the dream.
  • Stress.
  • Sexual relations
  • Exercise.

Causes of High Prolactin

As mentioned, prolactin can be elevated in some everyday life situations. Still, if this elevation is permanent or its levels are very high, it is most likely that some pathology is causing this problem.

Among the leading causes of high prolactin are:

Intense exercise or severe stress

In both cases, elevated prolactin for a long time can cause the symptoms of hyperprolactinemia.



  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Psychotropic.
  • Hormone replacement therapy in menopause.
  • Hormonal contraceptives.
  • Metoclopramide.
  • Anabolic.
  • Anesthetics
  • Antihistamines.
  • Antihypertensive.
  • Opiates.

Diseases of the pituitary or hypothalamus

  • Tumors: prolactinoma is the most common.
  • Birth malformations.
  • Surgery.
  • Radiation.
  • Trauma


Marijuana and opioids can raise blood prolactin.

High prolactin symptoms

When prolactin is above average values ​​and remains at these values ​​for a long time, it can cause different symptoms:

In women

  • Non-existent menstruation (amenorrhea) or infrequent (oligomenorrhea).
  • Milk discharge from the nipples without being pregnant (galactorrhea).
  • Infertility (due to lack of ovulation).
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Acne.
  • Excessive hair growth.

In men

  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Less body hair.
  • Enlargement of the breasts (gynecomastia).

In both sexes

  • Lack of sexual desire.
  • Infertility
  • Less bone density.

In minors

  • Late puberty
  • Galactorrhea.
  • Lack of first menstruation in girls.

How to lower high prolactin

As we have seen, the causes of high prolactin are very varied, and the way to lower it will depend on these. Therefore, the first thing to do about hyperprolactinemia is to find out what caused it. To do this, your doctor will do a complete questioning, review you, and request a series of medical tests, among which may be:

  • Routine blood, hormonal, mineral, and pregnancy tests.
  • Brain Imaging: MRI.
  • Ultrasounds: thyroid, abdominal, gynecological.
  • Chest X-ray.

All this will depend on your case and the professional criteria of whoever is treating you.

Once it is known what is causing the increase in prolactin, an attempt will be made to solve this cause so that its levels decrease, symptoms improve, and, consequently, your quality of life.

Intense exercise or stress

If this is your case and other causes are ruled out, reducing excessive exercise, and stress management can reduce the symptoms.


If a drug is identified as responsible and the medication can be changed, it is the best since, many times, the symptoms improve after stopping it. If it cannot be changed, another drug that counteracts the effects may be indicated: cabergoline.

Pituitary tumor

Depending on its size, drug treatment or surgery may be attempted.

Often, Cabergoline is usually enough to improve symptoms and decrease the size of the tumor, but it depends on the case. It is generally started with low doses so that adverse effects (such as nausea, nasal congestion, or headaches) are more diminutive. Treatment must usually be prolonged.

In the case of women who wish to have fertility again, the chosen drug is another: bromocriptine, but it must be stopped if there is pregnancy.

When drugs are not enough, you cannot tolerate them, or the tumor is large and has visual or neurological symptoms, surgery may be required.

When surgery cannot be performed and drugs cannot be used, radiation to the pituitary may be used to shrink the tumor.

General illnesses

Of course, solving the origin of the problems will help you improve prolactin:

  • Lowering sugar.
  • Improving liver or kidney problems.
  • Treating hypothyroidism or polycystic ovary syndrome should be the primary objective for prolactin to normalize.

On the other hand, you should know that it is not known why prolactin rises in a small number of cases. The cause is not found. These cases are called “idiopathic causes.” Some measures can help you regain balance. They can also be helpful in any cause to lower prolactin:

  • Get enough sleep: trying to accommodate the hours of sleep is very important. An adult must sleep about 8 hours, and at night, staying awake until the wee hours of the morning triggers imbalances of all kinds.
  • Watch your diet: avoid hyper-processed foods (with dyes, flavorings, jars of butter or vegetable oils, refined (sugar, salt, flour), milk with additives or unhealthy processes, etc.
  • Moderate exercise: if you exercise too much, better reduce the intensity and frequency. If you don’t move, start moving.

Trying to balance your life is not an easy task, but it is indispensable if you want to regain your health.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to lower prolactin, we recommend that you enter our Endocrine System category.

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