Men and women often experience different signs and symptoms of a prolactinoma. For example, a woman may experience changes in menstruation, vaginal dryness, and infertility. In men, a gradual decrease in sexual function is often the first symptom; however, many men with the tumor delay seeing a doctor until they experience more severe symptoms, such as headaches or vision problems.
Prolactinoma symptoms can vary among individuals. Also, these symptoms of a prolactinoma may vary depending on:
- The size of the tumor
- Where the prolactinoma is located within the pituitary gland
- The person's gender.
In women, symptoms caused by the high prolactin levels can include:
- Changes in menstruation. In some women, periods may disappear altogether. In others, periods may become irregular or menstrual flow may change.
- The production of breast milk in women who are not pregnant or nursing.
- Loss of libido (interest in sex).
- Vaginal dryness.
- Painful intercourse (because of vaginal dryness).
In men, the most common prolactinoma symptom is impotence.
Because men have no reliable indicator, such as menstruation, to signal a problem, many men delay going to the doctor until they have more severe symptoms.
These symptoms of a prolactinoma can include:
- Eye problems caused by the enlarged pituitary pressing against nearby eye nerves
- Loss of sexual function
- Decreased libido.
Most of the time, this loss of sexual function or loss of libido is gradual. Only after treatment do some men realize they had a problem with sexual function.