Prolactinoma is a condition in which a noncancerous tumor (adenoma) of the pituitary gland in your brain overproduces the hormone prolactin. The major effect of increased prolactin is a decrease in normal levels of sex hormones — estrogen in women and testosterone in men.
Although prolactinoma isn’t life-threatening, it can cause visual impairment, infertility and other effects. Prolactinoma is one of several types of tumors that can develop in your pituitary gland.
Doctors often are able to effectively treat prolactinoma with medications to restore your prolactin level to normal. Surgery to remove the pituitary tumor also may be an option to treat prolactinoma.
The pituitary and your endocrine system
The pituitary gland is a small bean-shaped gland located at the base of your brain. Despite its small size, the pituitary gland influences nearly every part of your body. Its hormones help regulate important functions such as growth, blood pressure and reproduction.
The pituitary gland is part of your endocrine system, which consists of other glands that produce hormones that regulate many processes throughout your body. Besides the pituitary gland, the endocrine system includes the thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries (in females) and testicles (in men).
Prolactinoma is one type of tumor that develops in the pituitary gland. Some pituitary tumors may produce hormones in excess (functioning pituitary tumors), but most don’t (nonfunctioning pituitary tumors).
The cause of pituitary tumors remains unknown. Although these pituitary tumors are almost always noncancerous (benign), which means they don’t spread to other parts of your body, they can increase in size. Because they grow in such limited space, they can compress and damage the normal pituitary tissue, interfering with hormone production. A tumor can also compress your optic nerves, slowly causing a loss of vision.
Other causes of prolactin overproduction
Overproduction of prolactin can result from causes other than a prolactinoma, including: Continue reading Prolactinoma – causes, symptoms, treatment