Usually a prolactin is associated with a hormone that is responsible for preparing woman’s organism to motherhood. However, recently we are discovering that its influence goes much further and perturbation in its secretion can even make having children impossible. It’s actually hyperprolactinemia (surplus of prolactin) that is now the common cause of difficulties with getting pregnant. If the increased level of prolactin can be one of the reasons of infertility, what might be the reason of increased prolactin or in other words – what does our organism want to tell us, when the results of prolactin blood test are too high?
Well, it occurs that the prolactin (next to cortisol ) is another hormone that responses to stress. Cortisol is associated with active coping with adversities of life but in case of the prolactin it is slightly different. When we feel powerless – as if the reality slips out of our careful control or as if we lose the feeling of control over our life – the prolactin joins the game.
In one study some elderly patients, who mostly suffered from neurological handicaps after a stroke, were divided into two groups: an experimental group and a control one (thanks to a control group researchers know if changes are the effect of their experiment or are accidental, so control group serves as a standard for comparisons). During an initial session with nurse the patients from the experimental group set their own rehabilitating goals. The group’s members’ responsibility was also to help each other to maintain his or her individual goals. They were supposed to support each other in it. At the beginning the level of the prolactin in case of the patients in both the experimental and the control groups was similarly high. But after only six weeks the level of prolactin of the patients from the experimental group dropped significantly. It looks like an active approach of the patients and their active participation in the process of being cured created this effect.
Prolactin therefore indicates how we cope with stressful situations. It decreases when we feel that we have control over our lives, over the reality around us. It increases when it seems to us that we have no impact on what is happening in our life and that the outcome of our activities does not depend on us.
The feeling of control is one of our fundamental needs. This is why we should work on it – I AM responsible for my life and I AM here the causative action!