High prolactin levels and weight gain: how does prolactin affect appetite and shape?

The pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain, makes the hormone prolactin. During pregnancy and after birth, prolactin makes the breasts grow and make milk. Pregnant women and new mothers usually have a lot of prolactin in their bodies. Women who aren’t pregnant and men usually have low levels.

High prolactin levels and weight gain: Having high levels of prolactin makes you less hungry, which, along with other things, can lead to weight gain. It is very important to figure out what causes hyperprolactinemia and get the right treatment to lower the level of this hormone and get the metabolism back on track.

Prolactin is a stress hormone, just like the hormones made by the adrenal glands. This is because its level temporarily goes up when you are stressed or work out, but also when you are sexually active, sleep, eat, or are pregnant. Prolactin levels can cause weight gain, but only if a disease is to blame and not a normal aspect of your body’s physiology.

High prolactin and weight gain

If you have too much prolactin in your body, it can make you want to eat more, especially sweets. It’s clear that eating too much makes you more likely to be overweight or obese. But this is not the only thing that prolactin does to make a person lose weight.

Scientific studies have shown that high levels of prolactin promote:

  • fat,
  • obesity,
  • metabolic syndrome,
  • blood lipid profile disorders,
  • disorders in insulin and glucose metabolism.

High levels of prolactin have been shown beyond a shadow of a doubt to cause weight gain, both through changes in appetite and metabolism that make it easier for fat to build up.

It’s interesting that when prolactin levels are high, adipose tissue can’t store fat as well. This is not good news because it means that instead of staying in adipose tissue, lipids will circulate too much in the blood and build up in other tissues. This increases the risk of heart disease and other health problems.

Prolactin and abdominal obesity

Some non-scientific sources say that high levels of prolactin cause the body to hold on to water, slows down the metabolism, and causes fat to build up around the abdomen. However, there is no proof of this in the scientific literature. But there is some evidence that having more fat around the middle makes the body make more prolactin. More prolactin flows through the body when there is more fat around the middle. So, obese people with a lot of belly fat should try to lose weight and cut down on the amount of visceral fat.

What are the symptoms of high prolactin?

Elevated prolactin levels can cause a variety of non-specific symptoms, including:

  • limited field of view
  • headaches
  • leakage of breast milk
  • sterility
  • decrease in libido
  • vaginal dryness
  • excessive body hair in women
  • hair loss and erectile dysfunction in men
  • acne
  • decrease in bone density
  • you are getting fat.

A blood test reveals excess prolactin. The LTH level is determined. When LTH levels exceed 20 ng/ml (400 mU/l) in women and 15 ng/ml (300 mU/l) in men, hyperprolactinemia is diagnosed.

How to lose weight with high prolactin

People who have too much prolactin may find it hard to lose weight. It is very important to find out why this hormone is at such a high level (pituitary tumor, hypothalamic diseases, thyroid diseases, kidney and liver failure, PCOS , high-fat and high-protein diets, taking certain antidepressants, etc.).

If possible, the focus should be on treating the cause, which should help bring prolactin levels, metabolism, and body weight back to normal. It is also important to use a healthy weight-loss diet, which should start by cutting back on simple sugars. It should also have a lot of vegetables and fruits, the right amount of protein, fat, and energy, and a good caloric deficit.


Author: DoctorMaryam.org

4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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