Once a woman becomes pregnant, her body increases production of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin is the hormone responsible for stimulating breast milk production in postpartum women. When elevated prolactin levels exist in a woman who is not pregnant, the condition is known as hyperprolactinemia
Hyperprolactinemia can lead to irregular or failed ovulation. Unusually elevated prolactin levels can be due to a small tumor at the base of the pituitary gland that is usually treated medically. In unusual circumstances, surgical removal of the tumor (prolactinoma) may be required. Other causes of elevated prolactin levels may include “borderline” thyroid disease or as a side effect of several common medications (such as Reglan or many psychiatric medications).
Bromocriptine (Parlodel)and Cabergoline (Dostinex) lower prolactin levels thereby allowing normal ovulation to resume.