How to Lower High Prolactin Levels
High prolactin levels can affect your fertility. Usually, the causes of this increase are unknown. This hormonal alteration can be very troublesome but, luckily, with timely and proper treatment, you can avoid its complications and continue your plans of getting pregnant.
Also known as luteotropin, it’s a protein that’s located in the brain’s pituitary gland. It stimulates breastmilk production in the mammary glands, through pregnancy and throughout the lactation period.
Prolactin also helps with the progesterone synthesis in the corpus luteum. In men, it inhibits testosterone secretion to the testicles.
Likewise, high prolactin levels can cause breasts to produce milk outside of the lactation period, decrease sex drive or make women stop menstruating. In the case of men, it only decreases their sexual appetite.
High prolactin levels are more common in women between 24 and 35 years old and, among other things, can make it harder to get pregnant. Treatment control should be only done under the watchful care of a specialist. Do not self-medicate.
Possible causes for high prolactin levels
- Bodily issues like pregnancy, breastfeeding, intense physical activity, sleep deprivation, and psychological stress.
- Diseases. Some diseases can increase prolactin levels, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, hypothyroidism, anorexia nervosa, lupus, brain tumors, bulimia, multiple sclerosis, liver cirrhosis, and kidney failure.
- Medicine intake. Taking medication like antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, antiacids, and blood pressure treatments are related to high prolactin levels.
- Other causes can be head surgery, thorax surgery, and exposure to radiation.
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Delays in your period, for over 35 days in each cycle.
- Breastmilk production, without being pregnant.
What to do if you have high prolactin levels?
When your doctor confirms you have high prolactin levels, go see an Endocrinologist. The doctor will perform a physical exam that will focus on the neck because hypothyroidism increases prolactin production.
Sure enough, you’ll need to take a blood test between the second and fifth day of your menstrual cycle, at least an hour after you wake up and have had breakfast.
There are different types of treatments to deal with high prolactin levels, and they all depend on what’s causing it:
- When it’s caused by hypothyroidism, you need to use thyroid hormones.
- If it’s related to a tumor over 10 cm wide, you need to get surgery or radiotherapy.
- If there’s no apparent reason, meaning it’s idiopathic, you’ll need to take bromocriptine. This substance belongs to the group of ergot’s alkaloids and stops the production of prolactin.
Naturopathic medicine treatments
You can lower high prolactin levels with natural treatments, but consult this with your doctor first so you won’t have adverse reactions. Likewise, complement this with a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and green and leafy vegetables to make your recovery faster.
One of the most effective herbs to reduce high prolactin levels is Vitex agnus castus, also known as chasteberry or monk’s pepper. This herb acts as a dopamine receptor and prevents the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland. Ginseng is another recommendation but should be taken cyclically.
Remember, better safe than sorry, so try to have regular check-ups, at least every six months. This way you can detect any complications in time, especially if you’re trying to become a mother.
In short, don’t forget that if you have high prolactin levels, you need to schedule an appointment with an Endocrinologist so he or she can follow up on other exams and set up the necessary treatments for you.