Infertility is often thought of as a woman’s issue, however, male infertility can affect just as many couples who are struggling to conceive. In India, around 30-40 per cent cases of infertility among couples are because of men.
An often missed cause of infertility in men is high levels of the hormone prolactin which can contribute to fertility issues. Fortunately, Dr. Gautam Allahbadia, an endocrinologist and IVF Specialist, explains that treatments can bring your prolactin levels back to normal, putting you back on the road to step into parenthood.
Role of Prolactin in Men and Women
An individual’s infertility can be influenced by the amount of the hormone prolactin they have in their blood.
Prolactin is a hormone produced in your pituitary gland, and secreted into your bloodstream. What most people might know about prolactin is that in females, it induces lactation after birth and during pregnancy enhances breast enlargement to prepare them for breastfeeding. However, in men, increased levels of prolactin in blood can cause numerous problems. Dr. Gautam Allahbadia, head of the IVF team at MMC IVF, Dubai, explains that testing of prolactin levels in the blood can help immensely during the treatments for infertility.
He further highlights the normal levels for prolactin in individuals:
Females: under 25 ng/mL
Males: under 17 ng/mL
How can we measure prolactin levels:
A prolactin level test is basic and measures the levels of the hormone in the blood. It can verify whether the levels are excessively low or excessively high.
Prolactin is essential for the body as it not only helps regulate testosterone production in men but also helps to regulate immune functions, salt and water balances, metabolic functions, endocrine system, brain and behaviour, and growth and development. However, Endocrinologist and IVF specialist, Dr. Gautam Allahbadia explains that increased levels of prolactin can lead to erectile dysfunction among males and decrease the testosterone level.
Dr. Gautam Allahbadia also discloses that most of the diseases prevalent today can be prevented or controlled by bringing in a change in lifestyle and so can infertility amongst couples. He recommends avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. An annual check-up for couples will be helpful to diagnose and timely manage medical conditions, if any. The modern treatments with advanced technology are making fertility treatments available to more people and the safety and success rates are also improving with time.