What does elevated prolactin mean and how does it affect ED?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You've probably never heard of prolactin and didn't know you had it in you. But if a man makes too much of this hormone, he can end up with erectile dysfunction (ED).

Prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain. Normally, men make tiny amounts of this hormone. But tumors on the pituitary gland can cause your prolactin production to run out of control and generate huge amounts. This condition is called hyperprolactinemia.

One way a man's body responds to hyperprolactinemia is to dial down production of another hormone, testosterone. That can lead to a lot of undesirable changes, including loss of sex drive and difficulty having erections.

Hyperprolactinemia is a rare cause of erectile dysfunction. But if you have problems with getting erections and typical treatments such as oral medications don't help, hyperprolactinemia needs to be considered as a possible cause.

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