Most often this hormone is considered exclusively “female” because it ensures the normal development of functional breast tissue, milk formation and participates in the regulation of the menstrual cycle in women. Its other functions – inhibition of testosterone release by testicular glandular tissue, orgasm provision with the consequent temporary blocking of development of sexual excitement and inhibition of erections, important for men – are not taken into account. Prolactin is thus part of the hormonal regulation system of reproductive and sexual function in both men and women; but in men, unlike women, only the increased concentration of this hormone – hyperprolactinemia – causes pathological conditions.
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Elevated prolactin in men may be a consequence of:
- Tumors of the pituitary gland (craniopharyngoma, meningeoma, herminoma, tumors secreting hormones other than prolactin);
- Diseases of the hypothalamus, an area of the brain closely related to the pituitary gland (tumors, arteriovenous anomalies, conditions after therapeutic radiation exposure, and others);
- Decreased thyroid function – hypothyroidism;
- Chronic renal insufficiency;
- Liver cirrhosis;
- Traumas, surgical interventions on the chest;
- Taking medications;
- Antituberculosis drugs;
- Cocaine use;
- Excessive physical or mental stress.
Hyperprolactinemia is one of the leading causes of endocrine infertility in men. Excess prolactin causes suppression of testosterone secretion in men – hypogonadism. Hence these symptoms follow:
- Disappearance/decrease in the expression of secondary sexual characteristics;
- Decreased sexual desire and potency;
- True gynecomastia – overgrowth of the mammary glands due to glandular tissue, sometimes accompanied by galactorrhea – the discharge of milk or similar fluid from the nipple;
- Retrograde ejaculation – throwing sperm into the bladder;
- Increased body weight;
- Increased levels of atherogenic fractions of cholesterol in the blood;
- Osteoporosis – disruption of bone structure and decreased bone density.
Larger pituitary tumors may cause headaches and symptoms of compression of adjacent structures: narrowed visual fields or decreased visual acuity; paralysis of the muscles that move the eye; increased intracranial pressure.
Excess prolactin in men causes breast enlargement due to glandular overgrowth. In some cases, fully functioning mammary glands develop that are able to secrete milk. To diagnose hyperprolactinemia, laboratory determination of plasma prolactin concentration, and other hormones (thyroxine, thyrotropic, corticotropic) is used. If you notice problems with sexual function, you should see a doctor immediately. You can also use additional medications, which you can buy at https://svensktapotek.net/.