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Prolactin Level and Clomid for 30 yr. old TTC'r

Posted Dec 12 2009 12:00am


Question


Hi Dr. Ramirez,

I recently had a blood test done and it showed that my prolactin level is 41ug/L (the lab report indicates that normal should be less than 26ug/L) and macroprolactin is 54%. The month that I had this test done was very stressful and my period was about 12 days late. I am usually very regular 30-33 days. I did have a miscarriage in November 2008. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for about 2.5 years.

I just started my first round of Clomid. I am 30 years old. I was wondering if my prolactin level is something to be very concerned about and will it affect my fertility? Will the clomid regulate this? Does my prolactin level indicate hyperprolactinemia?

Thank you for taking the time out to read my question.

Answer

Hello,


Yes, if in fact your prolactin is elevated, it will affect your fertility. It needs to be brought down to normal first. However, in order to check the Prolactin level, it should be done fasting and preferable in a non-stress situation. So, please have yourself retested, since I see that your level is not too high.

Prolactin is a very volatile hormone. It is affected by sleep, stress, time of day and meals. That is why it should always be rechecked at a fasting level. The normal level should be less than 20. It may be the only thing affecting your fertility. If the prolactin remains elevated, you should see a medical endocrinologist or reproductive endocrinologist for evaluation and treatment. Often this indicates that there is a microscopic tumor in the pituitary. Medication is sufficient to treat this tumor but a larger tumor would need to be surgically removed.

However, if when you are retested and the Prolactin level is normal, the fact that you have not gotten pregnant after two years of trying at your age would be reason for concern. You are still at your peak fertile years and should have gotten pregnant within one year. Before going to treatment such as with Clomid, you should undergo a complete infertility evaluation to find out what the problem is. The treatment is then chosen according to what needs to be treated. For example, if your tubes are blocked, Clomid won't work. If there is a male infertility factor, such as low sperm count, Clomid with intercourse won't work. See my March 2008 blog concerning "Infertility Evaluation ABC's" http://womenshealthandfertility.blogspot.com/2008/03/infertility-evaluation-abcs.html

It seems obvious to me that you are seeing a Family Practice doctor or a general Ob/Gyn. That is the reason you are going straight to Clomid, when in fact since you have regular periods it is a sign that you are ovulating. Clomid will increase the number of eggs that you ovulate, but having eggs available has not been your problem since you have regular cycles. Something else is going on. The problem with non-infertility specialists is that they jump to Clomid as if it were a miracle drug. It is not. It works great for some women who don't ovulate and don't have normal periods, which is certainly not your case.

I would recommend that you seek out a fertility specialist that is going to give you the proper evaluation and care. In answer to your last question, "hyperprolactinemia" means elevated prolactin levels in the blood. If your level is over 20, then you have it. Your single miscarriage in Nov. 2008 is not a major cause for alarm. That being said, get yourself retested and move on from there, keeping in mind what I have advised above.

I hope this helps,

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.
www.montereybayivf.com
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