A prolactinoma is one of many types of pituitary tumors that can interfere with the proper flow of human hormones. Though noncancerous, prolactinomas typically cause an unwanted increase in the level in prolactin, the hormone that regulates lactation (milk production) in women. Most common in women under the age of 40, the tumors can also be seen in men and in patients of all ages.
Usually small, and possibly inherited, prolactinomas are the most common pituitary tumor. The highly skilled team at North Georgia Endocrinology can provide quality treatment for all diseases that affect the endocrine system, including prolactinomas and other pituitary tumors. Our entire staff is committed to excellence in the science of healing.
What are the symptoms of prolactinomas?
Women who have a prolactinoma on their pituitary gland will typically show:
- Excessive breast milk production, even when not pregnant or nursing
- Irregular or halted menstruation
- Vision problems
- Low sex drive
It is important to keep in mind that prolactinomas sometimes produce no symptoms whatsoever, but can still cause alterations to a person’s health and overall hormone balance.
Dr. Anbar Ahmad can diagnose and treat prolactinomas and other pituitary tumors. She is experienced in the management of such conditions and works with her patients to find the best possible treatment plans. Pituitary tumors can be especially dangerous when they affect the normal working of the gland itself.
Fortunately, most pituitary tumors are not cancerous. Any abnormal growth in the gland is categorized as a tumor. One reason to be vigilant with regard to such conditions is their ability to interfere with the regulation of the body’s hormone levels.
Doctors employ a number of tests to detect prolactinomas, including a pituitary MRI, blood tests for thyroid function, prolactin levels, cortisol levels and other tests as needed. Treatment usually takes the form of various medicines that work to decrease prolactin levels. If the tumor goes away or becomes inactive, medications can be stopped in some cases.
Even when medications are successful and the tumor disappears, doctors stay on the lookout for renewed activity or reappearance of the tumor, which is not an uncommon occurrence.
Surgery and radiation are two other treatment options, especially when a tumor does not respond to medications, or if it is secreting a different hormone than prolactin.
The good news is that the prognosis is excellent for those who have prolactinomas. Of course, any individual success is dependent upon the effect of medication or the result of surgery. For these reasons, it is imperative to consult an experienced endocrinologist during all stages of treatment.
Treatment of prolactinomas demands professional care and monitoring from a doctor who has experience with the disease. If you are concerned that you might have a prolactinoma, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahmad of North Georgia Endocrinology. She will help you determine whether you have a pituitary tumor, and will help develop a treatment plan if you do.