Prolactin (PRL) is an anterior pituitary hormone which has its principle physiological action in initiation and maintenance of lactation. In human reproduction, pathological hyperprolactinemia most commonly presents as an ovulatory disorder and is often associated with secondary amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea. Galactorrhea, a typical symptom of hyperprolactinemia, occurs in less than half the cases. Out of the causes of hyperprolactinemia, pituitary tumors may be responsible for almost 50% of cases and need to be investigated especially in the absence of history of drug induced hyperprolactinemia. In women with hyperprolactinemic amenorrhea one important consequence of estrogen deficiency is osteoporosis, which deserves specific therapeutic consideration. Problem in diagnosing and treating hyperprolactinemia is the occurrence of the 'big big molecule of prolactin' that is biologically inactive (called macroprolactinemia), but detected by the same radioimmunoassay as the biologically active prolactin. This may explain many cases of very high prolactin levels sometimes found in normally ovulating women and do not require any treatment. Dopamine agonist is the mainstay of treatment. However, presence of a pituitary macroadenoma may require surgical or radiological management.
Keywords: Anovulation; galactorrhea; hyperprolactinemia; prolactin; prolactinomas.