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Definition of Prolactin

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Prolactin: A hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates lactation (milk production). It also has many other functions, including essential roles in the maintenance of the immune system. Abnormally high prolactin can delay puberty, interfere with ovulation in women, decrease libido in men, and decrease fertility. Elevated prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) may be due to a benign tumor in the pituitary gland called a prolactinoma.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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