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"Can prolactinoma cause the breasts to feel tender?"


My breasts have felt very tender of late, maybe paranoid but self diagnoising with prolactinoma. I am a 29 year old woman. What should I do?


A prolactinoma is a small, almost always benign tumor of the pituitary gland. It is made of cells that normally produce the hormone prolactin. Prolactin is the hormone responsible for milk production in the breasts and is usually made in the third trimester of pregnancy and during breast feeding.

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Since the prolactinoma is made of cells that produce prolactin, people with the prolactinoma usually have prolactin levels that are too high. The main symptom of too much prolactin is a milky discharge from your nipples (we call this galactorrhea). While prolactin can make your breasts feel tender, normally a change in breast tenderness is because of an increase in estrogen secretion. When a patient of mine complains about this new symptom, the first thing I do is a pregnancy test. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can listen to your description of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. If you are sexually active, then I think the first step in your workup is to get a pregnancy test done. If you are showing any milky-like discharge from your breasts, then you may need an MRI of your head to look for a prolactinoma. Good luck with your evaluation.

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