A prolactinoma is a noncancerous tumor of the pituitary gland which manufactures prolactin hormones. These are some of the most common tumors of the pituitary gland and the symptoms are caused by elevated levels of prolactin in the blood or due to the pressure the tumor places on surrounding tissues. Prolactin hormones stimulate the mammary glands to produce milk during pregnancy and also influence mood regulation in women that are breastfeeding. Depending on the size of the tumor it may be classified as either a microprolactinoma which is more than 10mm in size or a macroprolactinoma, which is less than 10mm in size.
When trying to conceive, if a woman has a prolactinoma it should be treated by a medical professional. Medical studies site that approximately 6-25% of the people in the country have small pituitary tumors, and 40% of these tumors secrete prolactin. When a female or male is experiencing the symptoms of a prolactinoma, a doctor will perform a blood test in order to determine a definitive diagnosis. The symptoms can include irregular menstrual cycles or infertility and in males the condition can have an impact on sexual function and possibly milk secretion from the nipples. A prolactinoma can be directly related to infertility in couples, but with treatment can be handled in an effective manner and fertility possibly restored.
For prolactinomas that do not respond to drug treatment, there are other alternatives. Prolactinoma surgery should be considered if medications do not work because it can solve the condition and restore normal reproduction and pituitary function. Prolactinoma surgery and recovery is not painstakingly difficult, but it is important to note that within five years of surgery approximately 20-50% of the tumors will recur. If a woman has a small prolactinoma, she may still be able to become pregnant when trying to conceive. Often prolactinomas can be successfully treated through either use of hormones, certain drugs or by surgical means. Prolactinoma surgery and recovery will depend upon the age and health of the patient, size of the tumor and location. A woman or man can have the condition treated and restore fertility, which gives hope to couples that may be experiencing the situation and want to have a baby someday.