The Important Hormone That You Never Hear About

“You have an abundance of prolactin,” my doctor stated during my last appointment.  Prolactin, what?!  Don’t you mean progesterone, testosterone, thyroid????  Up until my 36th year, I had never heard of this hormone and certainly had no idea what it was for or the many issues it can cause in your body.

Wikipedia’s definition states that Prolactin “also known as luteotropic hormone or luteotropin, is a protein that is best known for its role in enabling mammals, usually females, to produce milk.”  Wikipedia goes on to state that it “is secreted from the pituitary gland in response to eating, mating, estrogen treatment, ovulation and nursing.”   Synopsis: it is responsible for lactation.  Well, as a woman who has never been pregnant, this shouldn’t be something I should be concerned about, right?!  Wrong!

An increased amount of prolactin can affect the body significantly.  In women too much prolactin can cause:

  •  Irregular menstrual periods/or no menstrual periods
  • Milky discharge from the breasts when not pregnant or breast-feeding
  • Acne and excessive body and facial hair growth
  • Infertility

Women, you aren’t alone.  Too much prolactin can affect the men in our lives as well.  In males it can cause:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased body and facial hair
  • Uncommonly, enlarged breasts

In both sexes, it can cause:

  • Low bone density
  • Loss of interest in sexual activity
  • Headaches
  • Visual disturbances
  • Infertility

The body never ceases to amaze me and the craziest thing about too much prolactin is that it can be caused by tumors on your pituitary gland (you know, that small gland that sits at the base of your brain….that basically controls all of the other hormones in your body!!!).  Most of the time, the tumors are benign but need to be lessened with medication or surgical removal.

Long story short, if you have any of these symptoms, make sure to ask your doctor to check your prolactin levels with a simple blood test.  Listen to your body; it will tell you if something is wrong.

In the meantime, spread the awareness about this ignored, yet crucial, hormone…PROLACTIN!!!!!

 

What NOT to Ask a Woman of a Certain Age

Happy Healin’ Vegan is a blog that will help you “create a happy and healthy life.” Although I intend to maintain a positive space, I will also share parts of my story that we can all learn from. This blog is a vulnerable one for me but is hopefully something that can help us all grow as happy and healthy individuals.

 

As I reflect back, I realize the most difficult part of being in my 30’s has definitely been not having children. And this was not because of my desires to have a baby, but because of society’s expectations for me to do so.

It was literally the day of my 30th birthday when people started sending diaper coupons to my email and when people started asking the “none of their business” questions regarding my fertility. In the six years since then, people have said things to me like, “You’re not getting any younger,” “Have you been to the doctor,” “Being a mom is the greatest gift in the world,” and my all-time favorite, “If you’re not going to use your uterus, maybe you should just have it removed!”

Maybe part of it was my fault. I always loved children and was a nanny who couldn’t stop raving about what Bobby or Tiffany did or said during my workdays. It was only natural that I would get married and immediately have children. But as I grew up, my desires changed. I longed to have a successful, life-changing career. And being diagnosed with an incurable illness was an obstacle that put being a mother on the back burner.

I am not saying that I don’t want to have children (Lord knows that I have been saddened and have cried with every baby announcement that has come my way). However, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that my time will come if and when it is right. In the meantime, not being a mother doesn’t make me any less of a person….or a WOMAN. I have amazing gifts to offer, a kind heart and a passion to heal the world.

The bottom line is that a woman’s desire to have a child is no one’s business, except those that she decides to share her aspirations with. It’s not a question that you should ask or a subject to comment on. You never know what that person is going through or how long your questions will stick with them. So next time you meet a childless woman in her 30’s, ask her about the weather, about her job, or about her pets…Do not ask her if she is having children. If you are someone she wants to discuss it with, she will bring it up.