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Hyperprolactinemia, Amenorrhea, and Galactorrhea: A Retrospective Assessment of Twenty-five Cases

MICHELE C. S. KOPPELMAN, M.D.; MYLES J. JAFFE, O.D.; KENNETH G. RIETH, M.D.; RAFAEL C. CARUSO, M.D.; and D. LYNN LORIAUX, M.D., Ph.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Michele C. S. Koppelman, M.D.; The Miriam Hospital, 164 Summit Avenue; Providence, RI 02906.


Bethesda, Maryland


Ann Intern Med. 1984;100(1):115-121. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-100-1-115
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The syndrome of hyperprolactinemia, galactorrhea, and amenorrhea is frequently caused by a pituitary tumor. Transsphenoidal surgical removal is often advocated for microadenomas, tumors smaller than 10 mm, to prevent the progression of these small adenomas into large tumors. Because no strong evidence indicates that microadenomas naturally progress to macroadenomas, we studied 25 women who had had hyperprolactinemia, amenorrhea, or galactorrhea for a mean duration of 11.3 years. Their mean initial prolactin level was 225 ng/mL (normal, < 36 ng/mL). Of 22 patients presenting with amenorrhea, 7 resumed menses spontaneously. Galactorrhea resolved completely in 6 of the 19 patients with this disorder. Only 1 patient had progression of a sellar abnormality, and this was slight. Visual fields remained full in all patients, and basal adrenal and thyroid functions remained normal. The mean prolactin level was 155 ng/mL at the reevaluation (p < 0.01, initial versus reevaluation levels). Hyperprolactinemia apparently has a benign clinical course in most women, and we advocate a conservative approach to management of this disorder.

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