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Specialists in the Field of Prolactinoma
Information About the Field of Prolactinoma
What Is Prolactinoma?
Prolactinoma is a benign tumor of the pituitary gland, which different symptoms can manifest. The pituitary gland is divided into an anterior lobe and a posterior lobe and produces various hormones. The anterior lobe is responsible for producing the hormone prolactin and other important body hormones.
There may be an overproduction of prolactin if there is excessive cell growth in this area. In addition, the hormone serves the development of the mammary glands typically during pregnancy and the production of milk to feed the infant.
For this reason, prolactinoma can cause the breasts to stimulate milk production, resulting in milk let-down. Prolactinoma accounts for approximately half of all pituitary tumors and most commonly occurs between 20 and 40.
Causes and Symptoms
The exact cause for the development of pituitary tumors is still unknown. Nevertheless, it has been proven that changes in the genetic material can influence adenoma development. In addition, in rare cases, patients have a specific hereditary disease that can favor the development of the tumor.
This includes the so-called MEN1 syndrome, which is associated with the variable occurrence of different hormone-related but also hormone-independent tumors.
Small prolactinomas may remain completely asymptomatic. Possible symptoms of the disease include nipple milk flow, cycle irregularities, libido disturbances, and absence of menstruation.
Due to the hormonal diversity of the pituitary gland, the symptom complex may also manifest as a complex interaction of various hormonal disorders. For example, an unfulfilled desire to have children may also be related to the presence of prolactinoma.
In addition to hormonal disturbances, the adenoma may be noticeable due to pressure on adjacent structures. This can lead to visual disorders with double vision and visual field loss when pressure is applied to the optic nerves.
How Is Prolactinoma Diagnosed?
A detailed medical history is first taken with the patient to diagnose the tumor. The main aim here is to determine the exact symptoms. This is followed by an imaging examination of the head, which is usually planned as magnetic resonance imaging . A hormone analysis by blood sampling can also provide information about a possible tumor. In addition, it is important to exclude other possible causes for the symptoms, among others, medication intake and stress-related reasons.
How Is Prolactinoma Treated?
In most cases, prolactinoma can be successfully treated with medication. The therapy is based on the drug group dopamine agonists, which inhibit prolactin release. Dopamine is an antagonist of prolactin. In this way, reducing the tumor can be achieved in many cases. In addition, cell proliferation is reduced.
In rare cases, surgical removal of the tumor may also be considered. This can be considered, for example, if neighboring structures are so severely affected by the pressure of the tumor that failure symptoms or very pronounced symptomatology that is stressful for the patient are the results. Surgical treatment may also be appropriate for patients who suffer from extreme side effects of the drug, which requires a discontinuation of the drug therapy.
If the drug therapy does not bring about any change in the symptoms or a reduction in the tissue overgrowth, surgical treatment should also be considered here. Surgical therapy is usually carried out as part of a minimally invasive procedure.
In sporadic cases, radiation therapy may be considered. However, radiation therapy in patients with prolactinoma tends to be the exception and is used when all other methods are not possible or prove entirely ineffective. Any prolactinoma should be regularly checked and followed up.
Is Prolactinoma Curable?
The pituitary tumor is usually well treatable and often shows tissue regression under drug therapy with dopamine agonists. Nevertheless, recurrences of the tumor can always occur. In addition, treatment of the pituitary gland tissue may cause hypofunction of the pituitary gland, which may require hormone replacement therapy with drugs. Overall, the disease shows an excellent therapeutic response rate.
Which Is the Right Specialist to Contact for Prolactinoma?
If prolactinoma is suspected (e.g., if prolactin levels are abnormal), endocrinologists clarify the causes and take over treatment. Endocrinologists are specialized physicians for hormonal and metabolic disorders. On our portal, you will find an overview of highly specialized endocrinologists. They offer modern treatment methods and expertise in endocrinology and are therefore the right contact for the diagnosis and treatment of prolactinoma.
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