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How is hyperprolactinemia related to erectile dysfunction?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Hyperprolactinemia is a rare cause of erectile dysfunction. However, it's a condition that should be considered in men with erectile dysfunction who don't respond to the usual treatments.

Having an erection requires the right balance of chemical messengers called hormones. In particular, men need adequate levels of the hormone testosterone, which increases the desire to have sex and promotes healthy erections.

Men also make minute amounts of a hormone called prolactin. This hormone is produced by the pituitary gland, which is about the size of a pea and sits at the base of the brain. When the pituitary gland makes too much prolactin--the condition called hyperprolactinemia--testosterone levels can plummet. As a result, a man with hyperprolactinemia can develop erectile dysfunction.

Hyperprolactinemia is caused by tumors that form on the pituitary gland. Medication can often shrink these tumors, though in other cases surgery is necessary.

Producing too much prolactin (a condition known as hyperprolactinemia) can cause erectile dysfunction. Prolactin is a hormone whose main function is to stimulate breast milk production. However, it exists in men as well as women. Prolactin lowers levels of sex hormones, both estrogen and testosterone. Lowered testosterone makes it harder for a man to get an erection.

Often the cause of hyperprolactinemia is a tumor on the pituitary gland. If you are experiencing hyperprolactinemia consult your doctor immediately.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.