Prolactinoma is a condition in which a usually noncancerous tumor (adenoma) of the pituitary gland in the brain overproduces the hormone prolactin, which stimulates the breast to produce milk. The major effect is a decrease in levels of some sex hormones — estrogen in women and testosterone in men. Although Prolactinoma is not life-threatening, it can impair the vision, can cause infertility and it can produce other effects.
Sometimes, there may be no noticeable signs or symptoms from Prolactinoma. When signs and symptoms are present, they may be caused by excessive prolactin in the blood or from the pressure of the tumor on surrounding tissues. Because elevated levels of prolactin cause disruption of the reproductive system, some of the signs and symptoms of Prolactinoma are specific to females or males.
Prolactinoma is one type of tumor that develops in the pituitary gland. Although research continues to find causes of disordered cell growth, the sources of many pituitary tumors, including Prolactinomas, still remain unknown. Most pituitary tumors appear sporadically, meaning that no one else in the family has had a pituitary tumor. Some patients with Prolactinomas have a genetic disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia type I (MEN1), which is an inherited condition characterized by a high frequency of peptic ulcer disease and abnormal hormone production from the pancreas, parathyroid, and pituitary glands. A small number of people have a familial tendency to develop Prolactinomas, but do not appear to have MEN1. The gene(s) responsible for such cases of Prolactinoma have not yet been fully identified.
Most Prolactinomas occur in women between 20 and 50 years old. The disorder is rare in children.
Complications of Prolactinoma may include:
- Vision loss;
- Pregnancy complications.