prolactinoma is a benign tumor (adenoma) of the pituitary gland that produces a hormone called prolactin. It is the most common type of pituitary tumor. Symptoms of prolactinoma are caused by too much prolactin in the blood (hyperprolactinemia) or by pressure of the tumor on surrounding tissues.
Prolactin stimulates the breast to produce milk, and has many other functions such as regulation of mood. Hence prolactin levels are usually higher during pregnancy and after childbirth. After delivery of a baby, a mother’s prolactin levels come down to normal a few weeks after breastfeeding is discontinued. Each time the milk is dispensed, prolactin levels rise; this process may cycle to maintain milk production. In males it is responsible for the sexual refractory period after orgasm and excess levels can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Based on size, a prolactinoma can be classified as a microprolactinoma (10 mm diameter).