Effect of prolactin on Erectile Dysfunction

ED is a common condition which interferes with the quality of life of affected persons. The World Health Organization states that sexual well-being is essential to the physical and emotional health of individuals, couples, and families and the social and economic improvement of countries.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the recurrent or consistent inability to achieve and maintain a sufficient erection to permit satisfactory sexual intercourse.

ED may result from psychological, neurologic, hormonal, arterial, or cavernosal impairment or from a combination of these factors.

Erection and Prolactin Release

Penile erection is a neurovascular event modulated by psychological factors and hormonal status. When sexual stimulation, the cavernous nerve terminals release the neurotransmitters, and the endothelial cells in the penile release the relaxing factors, resulting in the relaxation of penile vascular smooth muscle and a several-fold increase in penile blood flow. At the same time, relaxation of the trabecular smooth muscle increases the compliance of the sinusoids, facilitating rapid filling and expansion of the sinusoidal system. The subtropical venular plexuses are thus compressed between the trabeculae and the tunica albuginea, resulting in almost total occlusion of venous outflow. These events trap the blood within the corpora cavernosa and raise the penis from a dependent position to an erect position, with an intracavernous pressure of approximately 100 mmHg (the phase of full erection).

Prolactin secretion is under the inhibitory control by hypothalamic dopamine, and dopamine secretion is influenced by Prolactin release.

Prolactin and Erectile Dysfunction

Prolactin has been suggested to have a role in modulating sexual behavior and activity, through central or peripheral mechanisms. The central mechanisms are likely mediated by the dopaminergic system, which regulates both Prolactin secretion and sexual function. Notably, dopamine is a major modulator of sexual function; moreover, Prolactin may influence erectile function by modulating dopaminergic function at specific brain sites. The mutual interaction between Prolactin and dopamine, together with the well-known effects of Prolactin on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, supports the role of Prolactin as a hormone that regulates sexual function.

Elevated Prolactin alters the balance among neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and hormones involved in libido and erection, affecting dopaminergic tone. An imbalance is generated between dopamine which stimulates sexual function and serotonin which inhibits sexual function. At the neuroendocrine level, elevated Prolactin decreases GnRH expression, interferes with GnRH action, inhibits gonadotropin secretion, reduces T to dihydrotestosterone conversion, and decreases central dopamine action. 

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Past studies demonstrated that Prolactin has a negative effect on erectile function. However, to our knowledge, few studies have shown a relationship between Prolactin and erections at the penile tip or penile base.

This study showed that Prolactin had a greater effect on the penile base than the penile tip; additionally, there was a more obvious inhibitory effect on base erections when the effective erection lasted longer than 10 min. 


Prolactin inhibits erectile function, The study found that the penile base is more sensitive to Prolactin than the penile tip. In addition, for penile base effective erections that last longer than 10 min, Prolactin has a more obvious inhibitory effect on penile base erection.

The ED Clinic

Talking to a doctor about your condition will sure help you in treating the Erectile Dysfunction. Many men are reluctant to discuss erectile dysfunction with their doctors. But don’t let embarrassment keep you from getting help. Just taking this step will get them on their way to recover not only their sex life but their relationship as well. They need not worry about their privacy as clinics like “The ED Clinic”  take full care to make sure all privacy details are just that- Private.

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