Prolactin TestDr.Nikit MahaleLast Updated on 18th February 2022
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What is the Prolactin Test used for?
A PRL or prolactin test is usually used to measure the amount of prolactin hormone present in the blood. However, there are certain conditions when even a normal woman who is not pregnant and even men can have increased levels of the prolactin hormone in the blood. This is very unusual and suggestive of a disease or illness. Some of the common conditions when your doctor can order for a prolactin test includes:
- In the case of women
- Who have irregular or no periods
- Fertility issues
- Discharge from the breast when you are not pregnant or nursing
- Feeling pain or tenderness in the breast
- Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and other menopause symptoms
- In the case of men
- A decrease in sexual desire
- Difficulty in getting an erection or sexual dysfunction
- Tenderness or enlargement of the breast (gynecomastia)
- Occasionally, breast milk may be produced
- Both for women and men
- Who suffer from headaches for no apparent reason
- Who have trouble seeing or vision problems
What is included in the Prolactin Test?
The prolactin test is a fairly simple and widely used technique for the diagnosis of any disorder caused due to an unusual increase in the level of prolactin. Scheduling a lab test using the MFine app covers everything that is needed to get your result done. This test includes home testing, sample collection, lab testing, final report generation, and delivery.
Procedure for Prolactin Test
Prolactin secretion in the body happens in a pulsatile fashion and increases with sleep, stress, pregnancy and chest wall stimulations, trauma or shingles, hence fasting is always advised to test for prolactin levels. Our lab technician will appear at your door at the time you choose. They will carefully withdraw a small amount of blood with the help of a syringe. Then, they will remove the needle and place some cotton wool or a bandage over the prick site. This blood sample will be sent to the lab for further investigation.
How to prepare for a Prolactin Test?
The prolactin test is performed similarly to any other blood test and requires a fasting state as any of the aforementioned conditions can influence prolactin levels. All that is required for the patient is to open the MFine app and book an appointment with the desired lab partner. Any drugs taken should always be disclosed at a consultation with a physician. In addition, if there is an additional necessity, the doctor will advise you beforehand.
Things to consider after the Prolactin Test is complete
Following things need to be considered once the prolactin test is complete:
- Wear your bandage or apply pressure with cotton for the specified period (unless you experience skin irritation at the puncture site)
- Avoid strenuous activities and exercises that may boost blood flow and produce bleeding
- If you feel stiffness or bruising at the puncture site, use an ice pack wrapped in a towel to your arm or hand
- If there is an experience of any worrisome symptoms, call and consult the doctor or contact the support team.
What types of infection disorder can Prolactin Tests suggest?
A prolactin test is usually indicated or advised by your doctor when you exhibit or develop symptoms that are suggestive of an unusually high amount of prolactin hormone production. Such conditions can be evaluated by measuring the amount of prolactin present in the blood. Some of the conditions include pituitary tumours or prolactinoma, functional and organic disorders of the hypothalamus, primary hypothyroidism, lesion in the chest wall, renal insufficiency, polycystic ovary disease (PCOS), and ectopic tumours.
How much does a Prolactin Test cost?
A variety of factors determines the cost of a prolactin test. The cost of the test is determined by whether it is performed at a government or private institution. Varying private lab partners also charge different prices based on the quality of the test and the services they give. In addition, the cost of a prolactin test varies depending on the state and city. A prolactin test might cost anything from Rs 300 to Rs 500. The average cost of a prolactin test is roughly Rs 400.
*Disclaimer: The value varies based on location, time, and your preferred lab partner.
How long does it take to get the results for a Prolactin Test?
You can expect to get the results for the prolactin test within 24 to 48 hours after the sample is collected. However, in certain cases, depending on the location, medical advice, and preferred lab partner, it may take longer.
What do abnormal Prolactin Test results indicate?
Prolactin is found in relatively small amounts in the blood of males and non-pregnant females. When your levels are high, it might be due to:
- Prolactinoma is a benign tumour in your pituitary gland that produces too much prolactin
- Conditions that affect the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls the pituitary gland)
- Anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder)
- Antidepressants, psychotropic drugs, and blood pressure medications
- Irritation or damage to the chest (for example, scars, shingles, or even a too-tight bra)
- Additionally, renal illness, liver failure, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (a hormone imbalance affecting the ovaries) can impair the body’s capacity to eliminate prolactin
Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor to interpret the test reports.
Is Prolactin a definitive test?
The prolactin test is one of the common tests performed in many laboratories, and it is usually straightforward to conduct and interpret and is quite a reliable diagnostic tool for hyperprolactinemia. However, if necessary and on the physician’s recommendation, another test to corroborate the results of the prolactin test might be conducted. Although it is a conclusive test, there are a few cases of false positive and false negative tests, which are dependent on a variety of conditions.
How to read the Prolactin Test report?
The normal range for prolactin in your blood are:
- Males: 2 to 18 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL)
- Nonpregnant females: 2 to 29 ng/mL.
- Pregnant females: 10 to 209 ng/mL
Anything above and below these given parameters is considered unusual and should immediately be consulted with the physician.
When your prolactin levels are high:
- If the score is beyond the typical range, it does not necessarily indicate that you have any disease. A test conducted immediately after finishing a meal or when a person is under a lot of pressure and stress may lead to an abnormally high prolactin level in the blood.
- Also, based on whose lab your physician chooses, what is deemed an average level may change.
- You may have prolactinoma if your levels are extremely high — up to 1,000 times the upper limit of what’s considered normal. It is normally treated with medication unless and until the tumour causes pressure effects on the surrounding brain and nerves. Your doctor may recommend that you obtain an MRI in such a scenario.
When your prolactin levels are low:
If your prolactin levels are lower than usual, it’s possible that your pituitary gland isn’t functioning properly. Hypopituitarism is the medical term for this condition and will warrant further investigations.
Why book a Prolactin Test?
- Tests to measure prolactin levels are usually performed to diagnose prolactinoma (a type of tumour of the pituitary gland).
- It can also be used to evaluate menstrual irregularities and/or infertility issues in women.
- To find the root cause of low sexual drive and/or erectile dysfunction in men is also possible with this test.
Prolactin Test at home – how does it work?
The prolactin test is just like any other blood test. A lab technician visits your home when you book your tests through the MFine app. The lab technician first cleans the arm and then inserts a syringe into a vein. The required amount of blood is then taken into a vial. The lab technician then removes the needle and places cotton wool or a bandage over the prick.
Are there any risks involved with Prolactin Tests?
The prolactin test is much like any other blood test. Complications are relatively rare in this procedure. You may feel lightheaded or sleepy during the test, but these symptoms may pass after a few minutes of sitting. It may also be beneficial to eat a snack.
The injection wound has a small potential of becoming infected, but the alcohol swab used before the test usually keeps this from happening. If you have a bruise, apply a warm compress to the area.
What can affect the results of Prolactin Tests?
A variety of factors can influence the findings of the prolactin test. This can result in testing that is either falsely negative or falsely positive. The following are some of the major elements that might affect the testing results:
- The sample is kept for too long or there is a delay in processing, prolactin levels can be raised by an underactive thyroid or insufficient thyroid hormone replacement, as well as renal illness, pregnancy, stress, and chest trauma
- Stress is another factor that might alter the test reports
- The subjective effects of alcohol were strongly linked to increases in prolactin and oxytocin caused by alcohol
- Prolactin levels can be artificially raised by excessive breast stimulation, high protein meals, physical exercise, and sleep deprivation
- Brain tumours obstructing signals from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland can cause increased prolactin levels in rare cases
- Anorexia (an eating disorder)
- Certain medications used in the management of acidity and GERD, high blood pressure, birth control pills, depression and psychosis
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Frequently asked questions | FAQs
Is the lab technician coming for prolactin test sample collection vaccinated?
Yes. Our lab technicians are fully vaccinated. Further, they also ensure safety by wearing a mask, gloves and frequently sanitising themselves during the sample collection.
Does MFine provide the interpretation for the results along with the reports?
Yes, MFine provides the interpretation for the result and the reports. You can also avail a free medical consultation with a doctor to understand your reports accurately. The doctor will also advise and prescribe medicines, if required, based on the results.
How can I download my prolactin test report?
- Login to MFine
- Go to your profile
- Click on Attachment and Reports
- Click on Lab Report
- Download the report
Are there any discount offers running on the prolactin test?
Usually, you can avail of up to a 50% discount on the prolactin test through MFine. However, the discount and test price may vary based on lab partner and location.
What is hyperprolactinemia?
It is a common disorder that involves the hypothalamus and pituitary gland of the body. Due to several reasons and conditions, there is an increased production of prolactin that affects various body systems and functioning. Some of the most common causes of Hyperprolactinemia are:
- Tumours also knowns as prolactinoma
- Functional and organic disorders of the hypothalamus
- Primary hypothyroidism
- Compression of the stalk of the pituitary
- The lesion in the chest wall
- Renal insufficiency
- Polycystic ovary disease (PCOS)
- Ectopic tumours
What is the reason for the higher prolactin level in pregnant women?
Thirty to forty days after conception, prolactin concentrations begin to increase in the serum and as the pregnancy continues, prolactin levels rise approximately linearly until delivery. Prolactin enhances breast development during pregnancy and also induces lactation. Pregnant women and women who have just given birth produce more prolactin to make their breast milk.
What is a cannulated prolactin test? What are the associated risks?
The difference between a single prolactin measurement using a needle/syringe and a cannulated method is that in the cannulated test the vein is punctured by a cannula instead of a needle and syringe as in blood testing, so the blood needed can be collected. A cannula allows the blood to be drawn again after two hours of rest. Both sets of samples can be compared because they were taken at different times and after resting to remove stress as a confounding factor. It also avoids the need for multiple pricks. This is usually done when serial measurements and monitoring of prolactin level is required. Some of the risks associated with cannulated prolactin test include:
- To locate veins, multiple punctures are necessary
- Bleeding at the puncture site
- Abrasions at the site
- A hematoma is an accumulation of blood under the skin
- Feeling faint or lightheaded
- When the skin is broken, there is a slight risk of infection.
- Phlebitis or inflammation of the veins
- If you apply pressure to the puncture site after the needle is removed, bruising should decrease.
How does the prolactin level affect male fertility?
Men with high prolactin levels cause erectile dysfunction and low sexual drive, mainly due to decreased testosterone production and hypogonadism. Hence get this test done if the symptoms persist and only on the doctor’s advice.
What are symptoms associated with abnormal levels of prolactin?
The abnormal level of prolactin is associated with several clinical symptoms. Some of these symptoms are listed below for men and women.
Symptoms in women are –
- Abnormal discharge from the breast
- Pain or discomfort during sex
- Abnormal growth of body and facial hair
- Abnormal acne
Symptoms commonly seen in men are –
- Unexplained headaches and/or visual deficits
- Reduced sex drive
- Abnormal discharge from the breast
How does the prolactin level affect female fertility?
Sometimes, high levels of prolactin can stop the ovaries from making the hormone oestrogen in women. Low estrogen levels may cause irregular periods or early menopause, reduced sexual drive, and vaginal dryness. All these factors may reduce the chances of getting pregnant.
Hence get this test done if the symptoms persist and only on the doctor’s advice.