Pituitary Disorders Q & A
What is a pituitary disorder?
A pituitary disorder is an umbrella term that refers to several different conditions that affect the production of certain hormones. If your pituitary gland produces too many or too few hormones, it’s often the result of a tumor.
Most pituitary tumors are benign or non-cancerous. Even so, they can present a variety of uncomfortable symptoms that affect your health and quality of life.
What causes a pituitary disorder?
A pituitary disorder usually occurs due to a tumor. Other factors that may contribute to pituitary gland problems include head injuries, bleeding in or near the pituitary gland, certain prescription medications, and cancer treatments.
What are the types of pituitary disorders?
The team at Ally Endocrinology treats several types of pituitary disorders, including:
Functioning adenomas or secretory tumors cause your pituitary gland to produce too much or too little of certain hormones. When left untreated, functioning adenomas can trigger a variety of symptoms, including high blood pressure, mood changes, and low sex-drive.
Non-functioning adenomas or nonsecretory tumors don’t affect hormone production. Instead, they grow in size, putting pressure on your pituitary gland or other soft structures in the brain. When left untreated, non-functioning adenomas can cause vision problems and severe headaches.
Pituitary Cushing’s disease
Pituitary Cushing’s disease occurs when your pituitary gland produces too much adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). When your ACTH levels are high, your adrenal glands release additional cortisol. When combined, these factors cause weight gain, headaches, increased urination, and thirst.
Growth hormone deficiency
Growth hormone deficiency or pituitary dwarfism occurs when the pituitary gland produces low levels of growth hormone. Growth hormone deficiency can be present at birth or develop later in life. Symptoms include short stature with normal limb proportions.
How is a pituitary disorder diagnosed?
To diagnose a pituitary disorder, the team at Ally Endocrinology conducts a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle. They then order several lab tests:
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) test
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels test
- Growth hormone test
- Luteinizing hormone (LH) levels test
- Insulin-like growth factor-1 test (IGF-1)
The team might also recommend magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your brain.
What are the treatments for pituitary disorders?
Treatment of pituitary disorders depends on the type you have and the severity of your symptoms. Usually, treatment involves prescription medication or hormone replacement therapy. The team might also refer you to a local eye doctor. Without regular eye exams, a pituitary disorder can result in vision loss or blindness.
If medications or hormone replacement therapy don’t prevent a pituitary tumor from growing in size, surgery may be necessary.
To receive treatment for a pituitary disorder, request a consultation at Ally Endocrinology. Book online to schedule an appointment or call the nearest office today.