Welcome to...The UCLA Endocrine Surgical Unit
 

Schedule an Appointment
Endocrine Home
About Us
Our Expert Team
Our Services
First Visit for Patients
Patient Education
  Getting started
  High Calcium
  Parathyroid Surgery Success
  Parathyroid Surgery Priorities
  Benefits of parathyroid surgery
  Thyroid and Parathyroid Disease
  Find a Surgeon
  Parathyroid Surgery FAQ
  About endocrine surgery
  History of endocrine surgery
  Outcomes in endocrine surgery
  Health Care Quality and Safety
  Reputable Affiliates
  Diseases we treat
  Endocrine encyclopedia
  Adrenocortical Carcinoma
  Pheochromocytoma
  Thyroid Cancer in Children
  Thyroid Cancer Staging
Scar Gallery
For Referring Physicians
Distance Surgery Program
International Patients
Insurance Questions
Map-Directions-Parking
Contact Us
Patient Experiences
Endocrine Resources
Research Opportunities
Site Map

UCLA Health System


Schedule an Appointment


Patient Education - Endocrine Encyclopedia

Endocrine Surgery Encyclopedia

Prolactinoma - males

Definition:
Prolactinomas are benign tumors of the pituitary gland that secrete prolactin. This hormone is best known for inducing milk production in women, but it also serves as a regulator of sexual function in men.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
Prolactinomas are the most common pituitary tumors. Men and women are equally likely to be affected. However, smaller tumors (microadenomas) are more common in women, probably because of earlier detection.

Prolactinomas may occur alone or as part of multiple endocrine tumor syndromes.

Symptoms:
Symptoms in men include decreased sex drive, impotence, headache, visual impairment, galactorrhea (secretion of milk, which is uncommon), and symptoms of hypopituitarism (low levels of pituitary function, which result in lowered levels of thyroid or adrenal hormones).

Sexual dysfunction may result from hyperprolactinemia alone or from secondary hypogonadism (low testosterone levels).

Signs and tests:
Signs may include visual field defects, gynecomastia (enlarged breasts), galactorrhea, loss of musculature or body hair, and signs of hypothyroidism or hypoadrenalism.

Tests may show:

  • Elevated prolactin
  • Low testosterone
  • Low FSH and LH
  • MRI or CT scan showing pituitary tumor
  • Abnormal visual fields

 

Treatment:
Treatment often includes use of dopamine-agonist medications (bromocriptine or cabergoline), which lower levels of prolactin. In severe cases (very large or unresponsive tumors), surgery or radiation may be necessary.

Support Groups:

Expectations (prognosis):
Most prolactinomas respond well to medication. However, permanent visual loss or hypopituitarism (lowered function of the pituitary gland) may occur.

Complications:
Complications include visual loss and infertility. Some people experience nasal congestion, dizziness with standing, nausea, and fatigue, which may be side effects of dopamine-agonist medications.

Calling your health care provider:
Call your health care provider if you have any symptoms of prolactinoma.

Prevention:



Review Date: 8/6/2004
Reviewed By: Aniket R. Sidhaye, M.D., Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

A.D.A.M. qualityA.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. logo


Diseases of the Endocrine System

Tests and studies: