- Hyper - In excess
- Prolactin - A key reproductive hormone responsible for milk production
- Emia - Existing in the blood
The pituitary gland is a small node at the back of the brain that is responsible for most of our key reproductive hormone production. Progesterone? Tick! Estrogen? No worries! Prolactin? You got it!
Dopamine in the brain stimulates the activity of the anterior pituitary. For reference, dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that transmits signals or messages between nerve cells (neurons) of the brain. The anterior pituitary (the brain) produces a hormone like substance called prolactin, which indirectly helps produce progesterone in the ovaries.
Sometimes when we are under stress for any number of reasons (did you say the Bachelor finale?), our pituitary goes into overdrive and produces too much prolactin, this is called hyperprolactinemia. Woah that’s a mouthful!
Broken down, the word looks like this:
While prolactin is good for producing milk during child rearing, too much of this bad boy inhibits progesterone production, creating a hormone imbalance. Hormonal imbalances like this can cause the phases of our menstrual cycle to get a little off balance, especially the luteal phase or the latter half of the menstrual cycle. If our luteal phase is extended, our period comes late; if our luteal phase is shortened, our period comes early.
Normally during our menstrual cycle, progesterone increased during the start of the luteal phase and thickens the uterus wall, while during the latter part of the luteal phase (the end of our cycle), we produce less progesterone which signals the shedding of the uterus wall and prompts menstrual bleeding.
So if we have an imbalance of progesterone production especially during the latter half of our cycle, this can shorten or lengthen our menstrual cycle and cause irregular bleeding. As we all know, this isn’t good for baby business.
This article is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose any condition or act as a replacement for a medical consultation.