Prolactinoma - Symptoms

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What symptoms are caused by a prolactinoma?

In women, high blood levels of prolactin usually interfere with ovulation, causing infertility and changing menstruation. In some women, periods may disappear altogether whereas in others, periods become irregular, or menstrual flow may change noticeably. Women who are not pregnant or nursing may begin producing breast milk. Some women may experience a loss of libido (interest in sex). Intercourse may become painful because of vaginal dryness.

In men, the most common symptom of prolactinoma is impotence. Men have no reliable indicator such as menstruation to signal a problem. Thus, many men delay going to the doctor until they have headaches or vision problems, caused by the enlarged pituitary pressing against the nearby nerves from the eyes. Men may not recognize a gradual loss of sexual function or libido. In fact, only after treatment do some men realize they had a problem with sexual function. As a result of later presentation, men on average, have larger prolactinomas at their presentation then women.

Return to Prolactinoma (Pituitary Tumor)

See what others are saying

Comment from: betsy, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: August 12

The first sign on my prolactinoma was on my 16th birthday. While in the bath, I noticed my breast had leaked a pale white fluid. I cried to my mum, who was horrified thinking I was pregnant. Obviously, still a virgin, I was so confused as to what it was. My general physician said it was nothing to worry about, so I didn't; for 3 more years. It was only when I went into the doctor's for the 3rd time, saying I wasn't having periods, was I sent to have an MRI scan. I am now 19 and have been on cabergoline for over a year. It makes me extremely ill, depressed and anxious. I am very confused about what's next for me, it seems that with my age, doctors hold off from telling me what really going on. I really hope I can have children one day.

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Comment from: patient, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 17

I was diagnosed with prolactinoma in early 1980s in my early twenties with symptoms of irregular periods, breasts producing prolactin, and increased weight gain. An MRI showed a tiny pituitary tumor, so began treatment with Parlodel. Although the instructions were to take 2.5 every other day, I became pregnant, and miscarried during the first trimester. After that weight, and breast size continued to fluctuate, but eventually I took 2.5 Parlodel twice daily, and brought symptoms to normal. Two more miscarriages, in first trimester followed. At age 33 finally I carried a baby full term, used one round of Clomid to help determine when ovulating, but started to have spotting during second month and discovered I had a blood antibody that attacks fetus (side note I have many allergies/asthma). So at that time (1995) I took one baby aspirin a day to thin blood until delivery and carried full term. I resumed Parlodel treatment 6 months after breast feeding. Second child came in 2002, again I went off of medications during pregnancy and used heparin shots until discontinued by 4th month. In 2014 I have entered menopause, and physician wanted to take me off of medications. I fought it, as in the past when he suggested to do this, prolactin increased, then I must go through the weight gain, low energy level, etc. (I feel like I have gone through menopause many times). Then the real thing in 2013 to 15. I had an ocular migraine (never had issues in past) but MRI showed no evidence of tumor, or reason for the migraine, but I was forced to stop Parlodel. Three months later, prolactin levels were rising, around 30, so I was allowed to go back on medications. I am currently on 2.5 twice a day. I hope my information will help others, and physicians to look at cases to better solve this issue.

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