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I had a blood test done on my prolactin levels because I was having some nipple discharge on my right breast. The normal range is 3-29 and mine was 45. The OBgyn recommended a brain MRI to see if there was a pituitary tumor.

By Anonymous January 5, 2015 - 11:06am
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I am hesitant to do the MRI unless it is really necessary. Would it be worth it to redo the blood test in case it was just stress causing the increase in prolactin? Also I stopped breastfeeding my 2 year old one year ago.

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Hi Anon,

Thank you for your reply! I am not a trained medical professional-but I am really passionate about helping women find research and resources about health topics. 

I always suggest women rely on their doctor's professional diagnosis :-)

I hope this answered your question. 

Let me know if you decide to take the test again or go with the MRI.



January 7, 2015 - 1:17pm

Dear Anon,

Thank you for visiting the EmpowHER community and sharing your question about your prolactin level test results.

A prolactin test measures the level of the hormone prolactin, which is made by the pituitary gland, in your blood. Once you stop breast feeding, prolactin levels typically go back to normal. 

In regards to your test results- having a lot of emotional stress or doing strenuous exercise before the test can raise prolactin levels and affect the results. Prolactin levels are also highest during sleep and right after you wake up.Taking certain medicines, such as birth control pills, high blood pressure medicines, tricyclic antidepressants, or medicines for mental illness, such as phenothiazines can affect the results.

You can take the test again, preferably late in the day around 3pm and be sure not to exercise 24 hours before and try to relax and decrease stress levels. 

According to WebMD: High levels of prolactin (usually higher than 200 ng/mL) may mean a pituitary gland tumor (prolactinoma) is present. The higher the prolactin level, the more likely a pituitary gland tumor is present. If a prolactin level is over 200 ng/mL, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test may be done to confirm a pituitary tumor is present. 

Anon, since your levels are closer to the normal range, I would talk to your doctor about having the test redone before doing an MRI. 

You can also talk to your primary care physician about the results for a second opinion. I hope this helps.



January 5, 2015 - 12:51pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to kristincaliendo)

Thank you Kirstin, I was just wondering what your medical background is?

January 6, 2015 - 9:29pm
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