The prolactin test is a blood test ordered by your physician to measure the level of prolactin hormone in the blood. Prolactin hormone is mainly responsible for the production of breast milk in women after childbirth. Even the fertility of a person can be affected by the prolactin level in the blood.
Infertility is very common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 6.1 million women in the United States have fertility problems. So, we recommend you get tested for prolactin levels in addition to other fertility tests such as progesterone test and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) test if you have difficulty in getting pregnant.
The article below covers all the significant topics related to the prolactin blood test like the prolactin test cost, prolactin levels, PRL lab test procedures, risks, complications of high prolactin levels/prolactinoma and low prolactin levels, and prolactin test providers locations.
- Prolactin blood test cost.
- What is prolactin?
- Why is a prolactin test done?
- Prolactin levels normal range
- How is the prolactin blood test done?
- Is there any preparation required before the test?
- Are there any risks in the test?
- What are the complications of hyperprolactinemia/elevated prolactin levels?
- Complications of low prolactin levels
- How to treat the abnormal levels of prolactin?
- Providers Locations
For our readers, who are more interested in knowing the prolactin test cost beforehand, we would like to begin with that section.
How much does the prolactin test cost?
Prolactin test cost ranges between $57 and $59 in different labs and facilities across the U.S. Compare the price, order your test online and visit the nearest lab during lab business hours. Complete the procedure and get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days. Doctor consultation is also available for further treatment or any kind of medical advice.
The following table shows the prolactin lab test cost at 2 of our partner laboratories (CLIA – Certified) network located across the U.S.
Name of our Partner Labs
Prolactin test cost with insurance
Many health insurance policies in the U.S. do not cover the cost of hormone testing blood tests including prolactin as hormone testing is not classed as an essential health benefit. But some insurance companies might cover the cost of prolactin test as the coverage offered by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid varies widely. So we recommend you to check with the insurance company before getting tested.
Our prolactin testing providers do not accept any health insurance plan. But, if your insurance company accepts to reimburse the cost, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is prolactin?
The prolactin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland located in the brain. The level of prolactin hormone increases when women give birth to their babies. This helps them to produce milk to breastfeed their child. This hormone is also important to both men and women for reproduction.
The sexual satisfaction in both men and women can also be known by measuring the prolactin levels. Prolactin hormone is also known as “PRL or lactogenic hormone”.
Why is a Prolactin test done?
The prolactin test or PRL blood test helps to determine the prolactin hormone levels in the body and it is done to detect any abnormalities in the secretion of prolactin hormone released by the pituitary gland. Your physician might recommend you to take the prolactin blood test in case if you experience the following symptoms of elevated prolactin levels.
Symptoms of high prolactin hormone levels in women
- Irregular periods
- Discomfort during sex
- Soreness in the breast
- Excessive body and facial hair growth
- Vaginal dryness
Symptoms of high prolactin in men
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Enlargement in breast
- Producing breast milk (hardly)
- Visual impairment
- Unexplained headache
Low prolactin levels
In both sexes, low levels of prolactin hormone are found rare. In some circumstances, the levels of prolactin hormones tend to reduce due to the consumption of dopamine and other drugs to cure certain diseases such as severe headaches and Parkinson’s disease. Low prolactin levels leads to pituitary adenoma.
Normal prolactin levels
The normal range of prolactin levels in the blood depends on gender and whether they are not pregnant or not. The following table shows the normal prolactin levels in men, non-pregnant women, and pregnant women.
Normal prolactin levels
|Prolactin levels in women||2 to 18 nanograms per milliliter|
|Prolactin levels in pregnant women||2 to 29 ng/ml|
|Prolactin in men||10 to 209 ng/ml|
How is the prolactin test done?
Prolactin test is a simple blood test in which the blood sample will be collected within 3 to 4 hours after waking up in the morning. During this test, the phlebotomist will wrap a tight elastic band around the upper arm to make the vein visible and swell with blood. The area to be injected will be cleansed with an antiseptic. Then, he/she will inject the needle into the vein to draw the blood sample. After removing the needle you should apply pressure on the injected area with a cotton ball to stop bleeding. The blood sample is collected in a test tube and sent to the lab for analysis.
It takes less than 5 to 10 minutes to perform this test.
Is there any preparation required before the test?
There is no special preparation required for the prolactin test before the blood sample collection. You can have a normal diet and carry on with your regular activities.
Are there any risks in the test?
There are no possible risks or complications in taking the prolactin blood test. After the blood sample is drawn, you might feel dizziness, slight pain, bruise, or redness in the injected area for a very little period.
What are the complications of abnormal prolactin levels?
The following are the risks and complications of high prolactin levels/hyperprolactinemia and low prolactin levels.
Risks in high prolactin levels or hyperprolactinemia
Elevated prolactin levels could be a sign of prolactinoma. Prolactinoma is a cancerless tumor in the pituitary gland. It is recognized by high secretion of prolactin hormone in the pituitary gland causing hyperprolactinemia. It can be treated with the help of medications.
Risks in low prolactin levels
The low levels of prolactin indicate that the pituitary gland is not functioning properly. Low levels of prolactin hormone cause pituitary disorders. This medical condition is known as hypopituitarism. Hypopituitarism can result in infertility in women. Due to this medical condition, men will face the following problems.
- Reduced sex drive
- Abnormal loss of body hair
What are the causes of high and low prolactin levels?
The following are the causes of hyperprolactinemia and low prolactin levels.
Causes of high prolactin levels or hyperprolactinemia
Elevated Prolactin hormone levels are common and natural in women who are pregnant and post-pregnant nursing period. Apart from this, high prolactin levels can be caused due to the following reasons
- A benign tumor (tumor in the pituitary gland that produces a high level of prolactin)
- Thyroid gland might not produce enough hormones
- Eating disorder
- Chest injuries or irritation
- Wearing a tight bra
- Hormonal imbalance affecting ovaries
Causes of low prolactin levels
- Postpartum pituitary necrosis (Sheehan syndrome)
- Other causes of anterior pituitary dysfunction
How to treat the abnormal levels of prolactin?
High prolactin hormone levels and low levels of the hormone can be treated with the help of medications, surgeries, or therapies. If the tumor is present in the pituitary gland, your physician may ask you to take an MRI Brain scan to locate the tumor. If the medications do not work, surgery may be done to cure the tumor.
The following ways may help in reducing high prolactin levels
- Change in diet
- Low-stress level
- Vitamin B-6 and vitamin E supplements (consult a physician before consuming)
- Avoid wearing clothes that cause discomfort in the chest
The prolactin test can be done in any of the following locations by visiting the nearest lab. To know the prolactin test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
Will insurance cover my testing cost?
No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.
How should I book my appointment?
You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.
Can I cancel my lab test order?
Yes, you can cancel your lab test order anytime before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.
Do the providers offer result interpretations?
Yes, a few providers may provide doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.
How do I receive my report?
To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.
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