There may be no noticeable signs or symptoms from prolactinoma. However, signs and symptoms can result from excessive prolactin in your blood (hyperprolactinemia) or from pressure on surrounding tissues from a large tumor. Because elevated prolactin can disrupt the reproductive system (hypogonadism), some of the signs and symptoms of prolactinoma are specific to females or males.
In females, prolactinoma can cause:
- Irregular menstrual periods (oligomenorrhea) or no menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
- Milky discharge from the breasts (galactorrhea) when not pregnant or breast-feeding
- Painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness
- Acne and excessive body and facial hair growth (hirsutism)
In males, prolactinoma can cause:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased body and facial hair
- Uncommonly, enlarged breasts (gynecomastia)
In both sexes, prolactinoma can cause:
- Low bone density
- Reduction of other hormone production by the pituitary gland (hypopituitarism) as a result of tumor pressure
- Loss of interest in sexual activity
- Visual disturbances
Women tend to notice signs and symptoms earlier than men do, when tumors are smaller in size, probably because they're alerted by missed or irregular menstrual periods. Men tend to notice signs and symptoms later, when tumors are larger and more likely to cause headache or vision problems.
When to see a doctor
If you develop signs and symptoms associated with prolactinoma, see your doctor to determine the cause.
March 28, 2015
- Prolactinoma. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/prolact/prolact.htm. Accessed Feb. 10, 2015.
- Melmed S, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of hyperprolactinemia: An Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2011;96:273.
- Kars M, et al. Update in prolactinomas. The Netherlands Journal of Medicine. 2010;68:104.
- Snyder PJ. Clinical manifestations and evaluation of hyperprolactinemia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 10, 2015.
- Snyder PJ. Treatment of hyperprolactinemia due to lactotroph adenoma and other causes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 10, 2015.
- Martinkova J, et al. Impulse control disorders associated with dopaminergic medication in patients with pituitary adenomas. Clinical Neuropharmacology. 2011;34:179.
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