Ahumada-Del Castillo is a rare endocrine disorder affecting adult females, which is characterized by impairment in the function of the pituitary and hypothalamus glands.
- Production of breast milk (lactation) not associated with nursing and child birth
- Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea) due to the lack of monthly ovulation (anovulation)
- Female sexual characteristics, such as hair distribution and voice, are also normal
- Since the ovaries do not produce eggs, affected females cannot become pregnant
The exact cause of Ahumada-Del Castillo syndrome is not known, although some research suggests that small tumors in the pituitary or hypothalamus glands may be responsible for some cases. These tumors are frequently microscopic and extremely difficult to detect. Rarer causes of Ahumada-Del Castillo syndrome may be associated with low levels of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), chronic use of drugs that inhibit dopamine (antagonistics) (e.g., chlorpromazine or thorazine), and discontinuation of oral contraceptives (birth control pills). In all cases, an over-secretion of the milk-producing hormone prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) results in the symptoms of Ahumada-Del Castillo.
A doctor will test for prolactin blood levels in women with unexplained milk secretion (galactorrhea) or irregular menses or infertility, and in men with impaired sexual function and, in rare cases, milk secretion. If prolactin is high, a doctor will test thyroid function and ask first about other conditions and medications known to raise prolactin secretion
Asymptomatic patients with prolactinomas do not have an absolute requirement for treatment of their prolactinomas. Indications for therapy in patients with prolactinomas may be divided into two categories: 1) effects of tumor size, and 2) effects of hyperprolactinemia