High Prolactin

Symptoms of high prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) include:

  • irregular periods or no periods
  • premenstrual mood symptoms
  • loss of libido
  • headaches
  • breast pain
  • vaginal dryness
  • acne
  • hirsutism or facial hair

High prolactin is one of several causes of androgen excess and can be mistaken for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

How to diagnose high prolactin

Normal prolactin in a non-lactating woman is less than 500 mIU/L (23 ng/mL). Optimal prolactin is less than 300 mIU/L (14 ng/mL).

If you get a high prolactin result, first consider if it could be temporarily or falsely elevated due to stress, exercise, or eating. To be accurate, prolactin should be tested under the following conditions:

  • early in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle
  • between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.
  • fasting
  • hydrated
  • relaxed,
  • not on contraception

If your prolactin is elevated on at least two occasions, the next step is to identify the underlying cause with the help of your doctor. Common causes include:

  • prolactinoma, which is a benign pituitary tumour
  • high oestrogen, either endogenous or from the pill
  • medications such as SSRI antidepressants, anti-psychotics, and stomach acid medication
  • underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism
  • undereating including anorexia nervosa
  • alcohol
  • stress.

Natural treatments to lower prolactin

  • Limit or avoid alcohol, especially beer, because barley stimulates prolactin.
  • Address any underlying issue with thyroid or undereating.
  • Reduce stress with yoga, meditation, and long slow walks.
  • Consider taking vitamin B6 which lowers prolactin levels by increasing the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Note: It is advised that these recommendations are discussed via a one-to-one programme so that it can be tailored to your personal needs – we are all individuals.