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
  • Headaches
  • Visual disturbances
  • Infertility

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

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