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Prolactin disorders.

OBJECTIVE: To review the pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, current diagnostic procedures, and treatment options for disorders involving PRL production. Common clinical dilemmas are discussed in a pragmatic fashion to guide the practitioner.

DESIGN: A world literature search of basic sciences and medical articles from the last three decades was performed using computerized MEDLINE. Recent endocrine and reproductive endocrine textbooks also were reviewed. Studies were selected for their degree of contribution to the basic sciences and clinical understanding of the disorder and for the quality of their study design and content. The information was summarized and grouped according to its relevance and application to specific sections of the manuscript. Studies were evaluated and critically used to support the views of the authors and to suggest specific clinical management strategies.

RESULT(S): Disorders derived from abnormal PRL production are relatively common in clinical practice. Infertility, menstrual disorders, and galactorrhea are the most frequent manifestations encountered in women. Although frequently benign, the disorder occasionally may have severe consequences.

CONCLUSION(S): An understanding of the underlying physiology and pathophysiology coupled with the awareness of the heterogeneous presentation of this disorder should help the clinician to approach it successfully.

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