Prolactin hormone stimulates the production breast milk during pregnancy and is inducing the lactation after giving birth. Hyperprolactinemia is a disorder of the endocrine system that causes the body to produce higher levels of prolactin than normal.
Elevated prolactin levels certainly produce a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. Examples include milk production without pregnancy or breastfeeding, even in men, menstrual disorders, infertility, decreased libido, hair loss, and fatigue. There are also cases where high prolactin level is not accompanied by any symptoms.(1)
How Does Elevated Prolactin Level Affect Fertility?
In hyperprolactinemia, elevated levels of prolactin hormone causes infertility by inhibiting gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) production. GnRH is responsible for stimulating gonadotropins (Gn), luteinising hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) production. FSH is the hormone that stimulates the growth of follicles, while LH plays a key role in the ovulation process. As a result, hyperprolactinemia affects the overall function of the ovaries, ovulation, and corpus luteum formation. Therefore it has negative impact on the reproductive health.
Acupuncture treat Elevated Prolactin
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, hyperprolactinemia mainly results from the DuMai, RenMai and ChongMai meridian imbalance. In addition, the function of the Kidney, Liver, Spleen and Heart is often affected. The acupuncture treatment aims to restore the balance and smoothly flow of energy (Qi) in these meridians. It help promoting overall Qi and Blood circulation, revitalize the body’s energy, better nourish cells and organs and therefore improve function of the reproductive system. Moreover, as physical and mental balance status is achieved, the body is better cope with stress.
In a controlled clinical trial, researchers document that acupuncture can add benefit to bromocriptine for treating women with hyperprolactinaemia. The research included 60 patients age 26 to 33 with hyperprolactinaemia from 2 to 8 years. They were randomly divided into 2 equal sized groups. Acupuncture group patients received the medication treatment plus acupuncture. The other group recieved medication treatment (bromocriptine or bromocriptine plus clomiphene if not ovulating after three menstrual cycles). 6 months later, the prolactin level of two groups was recovered to the normal level, and there was no difference in the results (P>0.05); However, the acupuncture group had a 43.3% pregnancy rate whereas the medication group produced 20% rate. Moreover, acupuncture has caused significant less side effects than the medication treatment. It was concluded that the combination of acupuncture and Bromocriptine has significant positive effect on pregnancy rate and reduced side effects compared to taking medicine only. (3)
Another case study stated that acupuncture can help regulate and rapidly normalize the prolactin levels. The study object is an 18 year-old girl whose prolactin level was 49 ng/mL (normal range: 4.50-33.0 ng/mL). The patient was treated with body acupuncture for 35-40 minutes. A total of 9 treatments was made once in a week in a period of 3 months. After 9 treatments, the prolactin level was decreased to 22.1 ng/mL, which is within the normal range. It was concluded that in this case acupuncture effectively treated hyperprolactinemia by improving the function of the hormone system, and therefore restore the healthy menstrual and ovulation function and the overall reproductive health (4).
Obviously it is necessary to conduct more research to affirm the effect of acupuncture on hyperprolactinaemia treatment. Two theory can be set: acupuncture can help increase the effectiveness of medication treatment and also help reduce the side effects it may cause. For more information, please contact us for a consultation on your individual case.
3. Yan Xiao-li et al, Acupuncture and Bromocriptine in the Treatment of Special high prolactin level Infertile Women, Journal of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 2014, Vol 7 (7-9).
4. Jihe Zhu et al (2018) ‘Acupuncture Treatment in Regulation of Hyperprolactinemia’, International Journal of Current Advanced Research, 07(4), pp. 11449-11450. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24327/ijcar.2018.11450.1982