A prolactin (PRL) test measures how much of a hormone called prolactin you have in your blood. The hormone is made in your pituitary gland, which is located just below your brain.
When women are pregnant or have just given birth, their prolactin levels increase so they can make breast milk. But it’s possible to have high prolactin levels if you’re not pregnant, and even if you’re a man.
Your doctor may order a prolactin test when you report having the following symptoms:
- Irregular or no periods
- Breast milk discharge when you’re not pregnant or nursing
- Tenderness in your breast
- Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness
- Decreased sex drive
- Difficulty in getting an erection
- Breast tenderness or enlargement
- Breast milk production (very rare)