I’ve long wondered how many people have hyperprolactinemia. I’ve never liked the feeling of sailing this boat alone. When I started investigating and found out how common hyperprolactinemia is, I was actually relieved. I also asked my doctor how many people have hyperprolactinemia. She had absolutely no idea, didn’t seem to care and basically gave me the impression that she thought it was the most stupid question anyone had ever asked her. But I think it’s very relevant. It gives the patient information to pass on: “I have hyperprolactinemia, which is a relatively common condition effecting X%.” Instead of “I have hyperprolactinemia and I know absolutely nothing about it!”
So I’ve done some digging and found some numbers for you (and me!). First of all many numbers can be found but they all include or exclude different criteria, making it difficult to compare them. This article mentions a prevalence of “0.4% in an unselected healthy adult population in Japan”. I was quite surprised when I read this. 1 out of 250 people sounds to me like a lot of prolactin!
The article goes on to testify that up to 5% of people consulting a family planning clinic is hyperprolactinemic. The article doesn’t mention if the 5% covers all people seeking guidance at a clinic due to various reasons, or only people seeking help due to infertility. But I guess the latter makes most sense.
But if we go a bit further and include the criteria menstrual related problems, hyperprolactinemia is even more predominant. A study done to determine the ‘Prevalence of hyperprolactinemia in adolescents and young women with menstruation-related problems’ concludes a prevalence of 2.4% (age 11-20) and 12.1% (age 21-30).
An analysis of 1,607 patients with medically treated hyperprolactinemia, the calculated mean prevalence was approximately 10 per 100,000 in men and approximately 30 per 100,000 in women, with a peak prevalence for women aged 25–34 yr.
The diagnosis is very much age dependent and the various percentages are therefore not directly comparable if the criterion differs. The above quotation from this publication indicates a much lower prevalence in the general population than the previous mentioned 0.4%. But the fact that age is of great importance indicates that 0.4% could be the prevalence at age 25-34 years of age (peak age). Taking into account that hyperprolactinemia is a much less common condition in adolescents.
And again… hyperprolactinemia can be caused by various diseases and conditions. But in order for the above to sink in I think I will cover causes of hyperprolactinemia in my next post.