Does High Prolactin Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

April 23, 2024
4 mins

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition that affects millions of men worldwide. While it's often associated with aging, there are several underlying causes, one of which is hyperprolactinemia – a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of prolactin in the blood. 

But does high prolactin cause erectile dysfunction? 

Let's explore the relationship between hyperprolactinemia and erectile dysfunction to understand how they are connected.

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What is Hyperprolactinemia?

Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. Its primary function is to stimulate milk production in women after childbirth. 

However, prolactin also plays a role in men, contributing to the regulation of the reproductive system. Hyperprolactinemia occurs when there is an excess of prolactin in the blood.

Causes of Hyperprolactinemia

Several factors can cause hyperprolactinemia, including:

  • Pituitary adenomas: These are noncancerous tumors of the pituitary gland and are the most common cause of high prolactin levels.

  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, and high blood pressure drugs, can increase prolactin levels.

  • Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland can lead to increased prolactin production.

  • Chronic kidney disease: Impaired kidney function can disrupt the body's hormone balance, including prolactin levels.

Symptoms of Hyperprolactinemia

Hyperprolactinemia may not cause any noticeable symptoms in some cases. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Infertility: High levels of prolactin can interfere with ovulation in women and reduce sperm production in men, leading to infertility.

  • Decreased libido (sex drive): Hyperprolactinemia can cause a decrease in sex drive in both men and women.

  • Erectile dysfunction in men: Elevated prolactin levels can lead to decreased testosterone levels in men, potentially resulting in erectile dysfunction.

The Connection Between Hyperprolactinemia and Erectile Dysfunction

There is evidence to suggest that high levels of prolactin can contribute to erectile dysfunction in men. 

Prolactin blocks the production of a hormone called GnRH. This stop in production then limits the luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

LH and FSH are crucial for the production of testosterone and sperm in men. 

Several studies have investigated the relationship between hyperprolactinemia and erectile dysfunction.

A study found that men with hyperprolactinemia had significantly lower levels of testosterone and higher rates of erectile dysfunction compared to men with normal prolactin levels.

Another study concluded that hyperprolactinemia is a significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction, especially in young men.

All this being said, high prolactin levels can lead to a decrease in testosterone levels, which may result in erectile dysfunction.

Treatment Options

The treatment of hyperprolactinemia aims to reduce prolactin levels to normal. Treatment options may include:

Dopamine agonists: Cabergoline and bromocriptine are commonly prescribed dopamine agonists that lower prolactin levels by stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain. 

These medications are usually the first-line treatment for hyperprolactinemia and are highly effective in reducing prolactin levels and restoring normal reproductive function.

Testosterone replacement therapy: In cases where hyperprolactinemia leads to significantly reduced testosterone levels, testosterone replacement therapy may be considered to improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction and restore libido. 

Rex MD’s TestoRx program provides access to testosterone-boosting medications like Clomid that will help you feel like yourself again. 

To find out if the program is right for you, just answer a few questions about your symptoms and medical history. Then, you’ll be able to schedule a virtual call with the Rex MD care team.Your provider will order lab work for you and determine if you’re eligible for Clomid or another treatment option based on your testosterone levels. 

Transsphenoidal surgery: In cases where medication is ineffective, not tolerated, or when there is a large pituitary tumor causing elevated prolactin levels, surgical removal of the tumor may be necessary. 

Transsphenoidal surgery – which involves accessing the pituitary gland through the nasal cavity –  is the most common surgical approach for treating pituitary adenomas causing hyperprolactinemia.

How Rex MD Can Help

If you are experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction or other signs of hormonal imbalance, Rex MD is here to help.

Rex MD helps guys access ED medications like Viagra and Cialis – so you never have to worry about under-performing in the bedroom. 

Just answer some questions about your experience with ED and your medical history – and if you qualify – Rex MD will prescribe you a medication suitable for you. The best part is you won’t have to leave your home, this process is completely virtual and discreet!

Get started today.

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