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PRL Test

Also known as Prolactin Blood
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What is this test?

Serum Prolactin Test measures the amount of prolactin in the blood. This hormone plays an important role in maintaining a healthy reproductive system in both men and women. Prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland. Prolactin helps in the production of breast milk in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The exact role of prolactin in men is not known.

Why this test is performed?

In women, your doctor may ask you to perform this test if you have abnormal nipple discharge, irregular menstrual periods and/or infertility issues, or any pituitary or hypothalamus problems. You may be advised to undergo this test if you experience symptoms of elevated prolactin levels such as an unexplained flow of breast milk, visual impairment, headache, abnormal growth of body and facial hair, acne, pain or discomfort during sex, etc.

In men, your doctor may ask to perform this test to check testicular dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, any pituitary or hypothalamus problems. You may be advised to undergo this test if you experience any symptoms of elevated prolactin levels such as visual impairment, headache, abnormal growth of body and facial hair, decreased sex drive, etc. This test may also be performed with other hormone tests such as progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and luteinizing hormone.

Prolactin levels in the blood may vary over a 24-hour period. The ideal time to draw the blood sample is 3 to 4 hours after waking up in the morning.

Precautions:

Medications that can alter the prolactin levels are estrogen, opiates, tricyclic antidepressants, cimetidine, amphetamines, verapamil, reserpine, dopamine, levodopa, and ergot alkaloid, and derivatives.

If you have higher or lower than normal levels of prolactin in blood, you may consult your doctor for further instructions. Based on the test results, your doctor may advise you appropriate medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, or further diagnostic tests.

Also known as Prolactin Test, S Prolactin Test, PRL, Prolactin.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your PRL Test. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for PRL Test.

No specific preparation is required for this test. Prolactin levels in the blood may vary over a 24-hour period. The ideal time to draw the blood sample is 3 to 4 hours after waking up in the morning.

Understanding your test results

If the test result falls in the normal reference range, you have an adequate level of prolactin and hence, no further medical intervention is necessary.

Low levels of prolactin in both men and women may indicate a decrease in the release of hormones from the pituitary gland. This can be due to a pituitary disorder called hypopituitarism and does not usually require treatment.

Small amounts of prolactin are produced in the blood of both men and non-pregnant women. However, high levels of prolactin are normal during pregnancy and in breastfeeding women. A moderate increase in prolactin levels may be seen in individuals with stress due to an illness, seizures, lung cancer, or chest wall trauma, etc. However, high levels of prolactin in men and non- pregnant women can be due to conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa), hypothalamus or pituitary disorders, infertility issues, etc. Polycystic ovary syndrome is also a reason for high levels of prolactin in women.

Abnormally high levels of prolactin in both men and women are called prolactinoma, a condition in which a noncancerous pituitary tumor overproduces the prolactin in the body. Symptoms of prolactinoma in women are an unexplained flow of breast milk (galactorrhea), visual impairment, a headache, abnormal growth of body and facial hair, acne, irregular menstrual periods, vaginal dryness, pain or discomfort during sex, etc. Symptoms of prolactinoma in men are visual impairment, headache, abnormal growth of body and facial hair, erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive, or very uncommonly enlarged breasts etc.

GenderAge groupsValue
MALEAll age groups3 to 15 ng/ml
FEMALEAll age groups4 to 23 ng/ml (Non Pregnant) and 34 to 386 ng/ml (Pregnant)
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