Prolactin blood test (Gold Top Vacutainer) to measure prolactin levels. High levels of prolactin (hyperprolactinaemia) can interfere with ovulation causing irregular periods (oligomenorrhoea) or absent periods (amenorrhoea) or cause problems with fertility and trying to conceive and may indicate the presence of a prolactinoma or prolactin secreting pituitary tumour.
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland found at the base of the brain. It is responsible for controlling and releasing various hormones.
Hormones are produced in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus and are chemicals that carry messages from one cell to another via the blood stream. Hormones control many bodily functions and keep us healthy (Smith 1990, Stanhope 1996).
Prolactin hormone levels usually rise during pregnancy and breast feeding. Other reasons for a raised prolactin level are stress, particularly from having a blood sample taken, various drugs and other disorders such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary disease (PCOS).