Male sexual problems linked to low prolactin
New research, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, suggests that the sexual problems of men may be linked to low levels of a hormone called prolactin, which was previously thought to impair male sexual function at high levels.
For the study, researchers looked at almost 3,000 European mean ages 40 to 79, and measured their testosterone, prolactin, cholesterol and sugar levels as well as their body mass index (BMI). The men also filled out a questionnaire about their health and sexual functioning.
They found that low prolactin levels were linked to poor sexual and psychological health. Men with lower levels of prolactin, but still within a normal range, were more likely to say they did not enjoy orgasm as much and had more symptoms of depression, compared to men with higher levels of prolactin. Low prolactin was also associated with a higher BMI and blood sugar, and lower levels of physical activity.
Prolactin is crucial for enabling women to produce breast milk after having a baby, but men and non-pregnant women also produce the hormone. Researchers say it’s not clear how prolactin may facilitate men’s sexual functioning, but it’s possible that overall poorer health is responsible for low prolactin and lower sex drive.