Prolactinoma is a hormone producing tumour on the pituitary gland (gland that controls the functioning of the other glands), that results in the overproduction of the hormone, prolactin. Prolactin is responsible for stimulating the breasts to produce milk and helps regulate moods during pregnancy. 

Prolactinoma is not life threatening. However, it decreases certain hormone levels in the body, typically oestrogen in women and testosterone in men, causing infertility.

Women in their twenties or early thirties are at a higher risk of getting this tumour but it can affect any gender at any age.​​​

Prolactinoma itself does not generate any symptoms. Symptoms occur due to the increase of prolactin in the blood stream or on the surrounding structures, if the tumour is large. It causes different symptoms in men and women since it disrupts the reproductive systems.

Symptoms in women:

  • Irregular or absence of menstrual period

  • Milky discharge from the breasts despite not breastfeeding or being pregnant

  • Painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness

  • Acne

  • Increased body and facial hair growth

Symptoms in men:

Symptoms in both genders:

  • Infertility

  • Impaired vision

  • Decreased sex drive

  • Headache

  • Low bone density

  • Hypopituitarism (failure of the pituitary gland to produce one or more of its hormones in enough amounts or not at all)​​​

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you can visit our doctors at the Internal Medicine Service Line​ at the Aga Khan University Hospital.​ ​
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​

If your symptoms point towards the presence of a prolactinoma, you may be asked to undergo the following tests:

  • Blood test to determine if the prolactin levels in your blood are higher than normal. Other hormones levels secreted by the pituitary gland may also be checked.

  • (Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans to check for the presence of a tumour.

  • Vision test to determine if the tumour has affected your sight.​​

The main aim of the treatment is to reduce the prolactin levels and the tumour.

These treatments include:

  • Medication, such as dopamine agents, that mimic the action of dopamine which controls the prolactin levels. These may be prescribed to be taken orally to control the prolactin levels and reduce the size of the tumour. Treatment with medications is generally a long term process.

  • Surgery, if the medications are ineffective or you cannot tolerate the medications. Surgical options you can choose include:

    • Transsphenoidal surgery in which a small incision will be made in the nose or upper lip to access the pituitary gland and remove the tumour. This procedure is carried out for small tumours.

    • Transcranial surgery in which the tumour will be reached through the upper part of the skull. This procedure is carried out for a large tumour or one that has spread to nearby brain tissues.​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.