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Prolactin (PRL), Serum

Serum prolactin measurement is used to evaluate pituitary tumors, amenorrhea, galactorrhea, infertility, and hypogonadism as well as to monitor the treatment of prolactin-producing tumors.

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Prolactin (PRL), like growth hormone (GH), is secreted by the anterior pituitary lobe and its secretion is controlled by the hypothalamus. Prolactin is responsible for the development of breast tissues and the initiation and maintenance of lactation. Determination of prolactin levels is used in conjunction with other tests to determine the cause of amenorrhea and galactorrhea, determine the cause of headaches and vision disorders, diagnose of infertility and erectile dysfunction in men, diagnose of infertility in women, diagnosis of prolactinoma, in the evaluation of anterior pituitary lobe function (along with other hormones) and finally in the monitoring of prolactinoma therapy and the detection of relapses. Hyperprolactinemia often results in loss of libido, galactorrhea, oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea, and infertility in women before menopause. In men, it causes libido loss, impotence, infertility, and hypogonadism. In postmenopausal and pre-menopausal women as well as men, it can also cause muscle mass decline and osteoporosis.

Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
  • Increase: Acromegaly, Addison's disease, amenorrhea, anorexia nervosa, breast stimulation/palpitation, chronic renal failure, Cushing's syndrome, ectopic tumors, endometriosis, exercise, galactorrhea, hyperpituitarism, hypothalamic disorders, hypothyroidism, hysterectomy, lactation, pituitary tumors, polycystic ovary syndrome, pregnancy, sleep, stress. Drugs that may increase prolactin levels: Antipsychotics, cimetidine, clomipramine, cocaine, danazol, enalapril, furosemide, insulin, labetalol, megestrol, methyldopa, metoclopramide, morphine, oral contraceptives, phenytoin, risperidone, tricyclic antidepressants, verapamil.
  • Decrease: Gynecomastia, hypertrichosis, hypogonadism, osteoporosis, pituitary infarction, pituitary necrosis. Drugs that may reduce prolactin levels: Antiepileptic, bromocriptine, calcitonin, cyclosporine, dexamethasone, estrogen, finasteride, levodopa, metoclopramide, morphine, nifedipine, octreotide


Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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