Can you treat prolactinomas naturally? Let’s talk about it.
Prolactinomas are benign tumors on the pituitary gland that can cause some serious side effects if not treated.
Prolactinomas are prolactin-secreting adenomas and are categorized by size. Microadenomas are smaller than a centimeter in size and can be treated medically. Macroadenomas are larger than a centimeter and usually have to be removed surgically.
Most prolactinomas can be shrunk by dopamine agonists. A dopamine agonist is a medication that raises dopamine levels. Dopamine is secreted by your hypothalamus and inhibits prolactin production which is why it’s called Prolactin Inhibiting Hormone (PIH). When your hypothalamus is dysfunctional and does not produce enough dopamine, prolactin levels will rise.
Your hypothalamus produces Prolactin Releasing Hormone (PRH) which stimulates the pituitary gland to release stored prolactin.
We can measure prolactin in your blood. If your levels are grossly elevated, we suspect a prolactinoma and must do an MRI to confirm.
When you have high levels of prolactin, you may have the symptoms of milky breast discharge because prolactin induces breast milk production. Both women and men can experience this milky discharge called galactorrhea. You may also have headaches. The pea-sized pituitary gland sits in a bony saddle called the sella tursica. A prolactinoma increases the size of your pituitary creating intense pressure which you experience as headaches. Prolactinomas can also cause visual disturbances because the optic nerve runs close to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Pressure on the optic nerve by a prolactinoma can cause visual disturbances.
In women, high prolactin levels inhibit estrogen production causing irregular periods, infertility and sometimes menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. On the other hand, in men, high prolactin inhibits testosterone production causing infertility and erectile dysfunction. In both sexes, prolonged high prolactin levels can cause osteoporosis.
I recommend checking prolactin levels between 8-9 am.
At that time they should be under 9 ng/ml which indicates your hypothalamus is producing enough dopamine to inhibit prolactin production and releases. If you have a prolactinoma, your prolactin level will be much higher than the normal range for your gender.
So can you treat Prolactinomas naturally?
While surgery is necessary to remove macroadenomas, microadenomas can be managed using dopamine agonists.
I have found that supporting your hypothalamus with Genesis Gold®, and sometimes some extra Sacred Seven® amino acids, helps to keep prolactin levels in a much more normal circadian rhythm. If the patient has a microadenoma meaning a prolactinoma that is smaller than one centimeter and the levels of prolactin are not excessively high, we can just use hypothalamic support.
But if the prolactinoma is approaching one centimeter and the levels of prolactin levels are excessively high, we do need to use a dopamine agonist to induce dopamine production so that we can shrink the prolactinoma. It may take up to two years to shrink it. We follow prolactin levels and do followup MRIs.
There are two types of dopamine agonists, long-acting capergoline and short-acting bromocryptine.
Unless the prolactin levels are excessively high I use bromocryptine once in the morning to simulate natural hypothalamus circadian dopamine production. I don’t want to necessarily lower prolactin at night as I’m trying to reset the circadian rhythm.
There has been some data that shows that using chasteberry can help to lower prolactin but in my clinical experience, I haven’t found that Chasteberry has been very effective. Chasteberry actually increases prolactin levels in men.
If you have symptoms of a prolactinoma – headaches, visual disturbance, milky discharge from your nipples – you need to be seen as soon as possible. Endocrinologists usually treat prolactinomas, but you may be referred to a neurosurgeon if you have a macroadenoma.
If you have any questions about prolactinomas, please join me in our Hormone Support Group where I answer your questions live. You can access it by signing up for my free Hormone Reboot Training.