Submitted by Jess on Sun 07/05/2009
Prolactinomas are tumors of the pituitary gland that secrete the hormone prolactin. The hormone prolactin enhances milk production in women. The hormone is usually secreted only during pregnancy. Prolactinomas cause an increase in the production of prolactin. Some women who are not pregnant have breast milk because of these prolactinomas. There is no known cause for the formation of these tumors. Some experts attribute the cause to stress while others believe they are caused by an underactive thyroid gland. Treatment of the tumors is through medications called dopamine agonists. The most common medication is bromocriptine. If the medication proves ineffective, radiation therapy is used to remove the tumors. Surgery is done as a last resort. The prolactin hormone inhibits fertility. This is why lactating women never get pregnant. Prolactinomas increase prolactin production and cause infertility. Once prolactinomas are removed effectively and prolactin secretion is inhibited, the woman can attempt to conceive.