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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- A prolactinoma is a tumor (lump) in your pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is an almond-shaped organ in your brain that makes and releases hormones such as prolactin. Hormones are special chemicals that flow through your blood and control functions of your organs and tissues. Prolactin is a hormone that helps the breasts of females make milk for breast-feeding. Abnormal genes may have caused a tumor to grow in your pituitary gland. Genes are little pieces of information that tell your body what to do or make.
- A prolactinoma may increase the level of prolactin in your body. When this happens, you may have problems getting your partner pregnant. Females may have an irregular or absent monthly period, and trouble getting pregnant. If your tumor grows very big, you may have headaches and trouble seeing. Blood tests, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be done to find your tumor. You may need medicines to bring your prolactin level back to normal. You may need to have your tumor removed or made smaller through surgery or radiation therapy. Having your tumor treated may decrease your symptoms and stop damage to your brain tissues.
Take your medicine as directed.
Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Dopamine agonists: Dopamine agonists can decrease the amount of prolactin in your body. Having just the right amount of prolactin will make your symptoms go away.
- Hormone replacement: Your caregiver may give you hormones after your radiation or surgery. You may have to take these hormones to correct the sudden changes in your hormone levels.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
You may need to have your prolactin level checked once a year. You may also need a MRI if your symptoms come back, or if your prolactin level remains high. Your caregiver may decrease or stop your medicines if your prolactin level goes back to normal.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have trouble getting or keeping an erection.
- Your menstrual period stops or becomes irregular.
- Your symptoms do not go away even with medicines.
- You have questions about your condition, treatment, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have a very bad headache and a stiff, painful neck.
- You suddenly have trouble seeing or a hard time moving your eyes from side to side.
- You suddenly have trouble thinking, remembering things, or moving parts of your body.
- You have a seizure (convulsion), or you faint.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.