Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. Its main role is to help women produce milk after childbirth. While the specific function in men is not well-understood, it has been shown to play a role in sexual satisfaction and ejaculation.
Why it's done
Your doctor may recommend checking a prolactin level if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Unexplained headaches
- Changes in your vision
- Decreased sex drive
- Low sperm counts
- Erectile dysfunction
- Abnormal lack of body and facial hair
There is little risk in getting a prolactin test. When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people may feel some pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise.
How to prepare
For men, there is nothing that you need to do ahead of time. You do not need to be fasting when the labs are drawn.
Normal prolactin levels will differ, depending on a person's age and sex. Normal values for men are as follows:
- Less than 18 years: Not established
- Greater than or equal to 18 years: 4.0-15.2 ng/mL