Prolactin in Men

Facing infertility can be very difficult, especially if you have not yet found an explanation as to why you are having troubles fathering a child. Fertility issues are often the result of hormonal imbalances, which cause the reproductive system to function abnormally. The hormone prolactin is generally only thought of as a factor in female infertility, but in fact, prolactin also plays a role in male fertility.

If you are suffering from male infertility, you may want to investigate prolactin in order to find out if it may be affecting your reproductive capabilities.

Prolactin Hormone

Prolactin is a hormone that is secreted by both men and women. It is released by your pituitary gland, an organ responsible for regulating many of your body’s functions, including reproduction.

The pituitary gland is a small, bean-shaped organ located in the middle of your brain. Your pituitary gland releases prolactin on a daily basis, both in the morning and throughout the night. Certain activities like sexual intercourse and exercise also cause your pituitary gland to release prolactin.

Hormones Regulating Prolactin

Prolactin is actually regulated by other hormones that your body produces.

These include:

  • dopamine (which blocks prolactin)
  • serotonin ( which triggers prolactin release)
  • thyroid-producing hormone (which also triggers prolactin)

What Does Prolactin Do?

In women, the role of prolactin is fairly clear: it is released in order to stimulate milk production during pregnancy. Prolactin causes the mammary glands in a woman’s breasts to enlarge, and upon birth, prolactin encourages the formation of milk. Unfortunately, it is unclear what role prolactin plays in men. However, it is evident that prolactin and infertility are linked.

Effects on Male Fertility

Like prolactin infertility in women, prolactin can also affect male fertility. In fact, if you have too much prolactin in your blood stream it can cause you to become infertile. High prolactin levels have an adverse affect on the function of your testicles, and can cause decreased testosterone levels or abnormal sperm.

This can cause serious problems when it comes time to conceive. Normal prolactin levels in men are typically less than 15 ng/mL. Elevated prolactin may indicate a condition called hyperprolactinemia, and this could account for your fertility difficulties.


Table of Contents
1. The mystery of prolactin in men
2. Enlarged breasts on men?
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