Prolactinoma & Acne

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Some tumors cause an overproduction of certain hormones. The most common tumor with this effect is a noncancerous pituitary gland tumor called a prolactinoma; it results in excess blood levels of the hormone prolactin. The main function of prolactin is stimulating breast milk production. You can experience adult acne while also having a prolactinoma. Although adult acne is often associated with hormonal factors, it is not a symptom of a prolactinoma.


A prolactinoma is classified as an adenoma, which is a benign tumor that originates from glandular cells. Most pituitary tumors are benign, and prolactinomas constitute at least 30 percent of all pituitary adenomas, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine website PubMed Health. Prolactinomas are significantly more common in women younger than age 40, but these tumors do occur in men as well and are rare in children. Medication can treat a prolactinoma but does not cure it, so you'll probably need to take the medicine for the rest of your life.


Some people with a prolactinoma, most typically men, do not develop any symptoms. Women who are not pregnant or nursing may develop breast milk flow, as well as breast tenderness, a reduced sex drive, infertility, lack of menstruation, headaches and vision changes. Men also may experience a reduced sex drive and infertility, along with erectile dysfunction, enlargement of breast tissue, headaches and vision changes. PubMed Health does not list acne as a symptom of a prolactinoma.

Adult Acne

While adult acne is not associated with a prolactinoma, it is likely connected with hormonal processes. Adult women may develop acne around the time of menstruation, and during pregnancy and menopause, says the American Academy of Dermatology. Taking medications with hormonal effects, such as corticosteroids, can cause acne. Stopping birth control pills may do so as well, because oral contraceptives can prevent or reduce acne. A condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome also is associated with acne.


Because a prolactinoma does not cause acne, medical treatment for a prolactinoma will not resolve acne. Effective treatment for adult acne is available, however, according to The Clinic recommends consulting a dermatologist to learn about these treatments. A doctor also can determine whether medication or an underlying health condition may be responsible for the problem.