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High prolactin level - what does/could this mean?

(4 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Tue 01-Sep-09 10:52:41

Finally got the results of a blood test for PCOS and they have written to say that my prolactin level is, quote, a 'little bit high'... They are saying that it is most likely a result of the pill I was taking, which is of course possible - but I realised after my last appointment that I had misjudged when I had stopped taking the pill, and so gave them a much more recent date of 2-3 months. In fact, I have now calculated, I stopped taking it close to 6 months ago now. This seems a long time for the pill to be still having an effect on my hormone levels, no...?

Seeing as the testing was done because I am concerned I have PCOS, is there not just as likely a chance that this is because of PCOS??! Now they are saying I should have the test done again in a month's time to see if the level is coming down, but tbh I don't want to wait much longer to start getting a clearer diagnosis. It's stressing me out not knowing what is causing the trouble, and my brief Google of Prolactin shows that stress can be a reason for it to be raised, so stress is obviously not going to help! Should I make an appointment with the GP and try to be a bit pushier about a referral (to, I assume, an endocrinologist?) I'm almost 33 and don't want this to carry on stressing me out once we take the plunge and start TTC - and if there is a hormonal problem we will start TTC sooner rather than later.

Sorry for long post, am a bit stressed!! (for a change...) wink

2ndDestiny Tue 01-Sep-09 13:03:07

Hi EmeraldGirl

Glad you have finally got your results, but sorry that you have been left at sea about what to do next.

I don't have high prolactin levels and don't know a huge amount about it, but I have come across a bit of info in the course of researching PCOS and reasons for my lack of periods until recently.

Prolactin is the hormone that causes lactation and it can work to suppress ovulation which would explain your irregular cycles.

Raised prolactin can go hand in hand with PCOS, but often it is a separate problem - it is certainly not diagnostic of PCOS on its own. If I were you I would still push for an ultrasound and testosterone levels to rule out PCOS. Then you can focus on investigating the cause of your raised prolactin - and yes, I think you should be a bit pushy with your GP about this and try to get a referral to an endocrinologist. I've never heard of the pill causing high prolactin hmm, I'd be a bit suspicious of that explanation.

In the mean time, google Agnus Castus. It is a herbal medicine, also known as Vitex, that can be quite effective in treating menstrual irregularities caused by raised prolactin levels as it helps to normalise your prolactin levels. You can buy it from health food shops but it is recommended to get a prescription from a qualified medical herbalist so that you can make sure you are taking the right dose for your hormone profile. However even if you self treat it like this, it is still very important to get a diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause so don't let your dr fob you off.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 01-Sep-09 13:35:49

Thanks so much 2nd destiny - it's great to get so much info!!

Yes, I am going to have to steel myself to be a bit pushy with a (rather scary!) GP, and unfortunately being pushy is not my forte. I agree with you that the PIll explanations sounds like a fob-off. I have actually already had an ultrasound, though not the internal one I was told I would be having, just an external, which I gather from others on here is quite useless at detecting PCOS...? Obviously I can't possibly say without further tests, but I do suspect it's at least as high a chance that it's purely stress-related as it could be PCOS, but obviously not knowing is just making me more stressed!

The Agnus Castus thing sounds useful and has been mentioned to me before. Do you know how I would go about finding a medical herbalist? Do eg Neals' Yard shops offer that kind of thing?

Hope you're finding a way through the maze yourself? It does seem as though it's one step forward and two back at the moment!

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 01-Sep-09 14:04:48

Hi emeraldgirl,

www.nimh.org.uk is the website of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists.

A caveat though; you need a firm diagnosis of the problem first and foremost and I would primarily go all out now to get a diagnosis before starting treatment. These people can be useful but some berbal stuff can make underlying hormonal problems worse so you need to be careful.

Agnus Castus/vitex can increase levels of LH (many women with PCO have an excess of LH to start with so AC is not always helpful). Am glad that you are therefore thinking about using a medical herbalist rather than self medicating with something from a health food shop.

Raised prolactin levels can interfere with ovulation and can also be linked to polcystic ovaries. Have never heard of the pill causing high prolactin levels either, to my mind the pill has always masked the symptoms of the underlying problems.

Would seek a referral to a gynae asap and if your GP continues to be unehelpful see another one within the practice or even change practice.

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