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How Pituitary Tumors Affect A Person

The pituitary gland is a master endocrine gland located in the brain that secretes hormones to regulate and coordinate body functions. Tumours are abnormal growths on the gland that hamper the normal bodily functions.

Often people confuse pituitary tumors to brain tumors due to the location of the gland. Unlike brain tumors, most of the pituitary tumors are non- malignant growths(adenomas) which do not spread to other parts of the body. However, they cause the pituitary to make too few or too many hormones, causing problems in the body.

Usually, tumors that make hormones (Functional) cause variety of symptoms based on the hormones they produce and Tumors that do not make hormones (Non-functional) cause symptoms based on their growth and size(Microadenomas& Macroadenomas).

Conditions that result from over or underproduction of the hormones by the functional tumors include:

Growth Hormones - In children, the increased production of growth hormones causes gigantism(excessive body size), and in adults, it creates a condition called acromegaly(excessive growth of soft tissues). Not enough secretion of the hormone leads to symptoms like slow growth, reduced muscle strength and bone weakening.

Prolactin – It is the hormone responsible for progesterone secretion and lactation. Overproduction of prolactin causes loss of sexual function and infertility in men. In women, it causes irregular menstrual cycle and milky discharge from the breasts.men can also experience a condition known as gynecomastia that leads to enlarged breasts. Too little production causes the inability to breastfeed in women after childbirth.

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) – Cushing's disease is the result of overworked ACTH hormone that causes symptoms like weight gain, high blood pressure and depression. The underproduction of the hormone causes fatigue, muscle weakness and low blood sugar.

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – Hyper and Hypothyroid are the conditions that arise due to over and under secretion of the hormone. The former symptoms include weight loss, increased heartbeat and sweating. The later symptoms are fatigue, weight gain, and decreased heartbeat.

Apart from the above conditions, the non-functional macroadenomas which measure larger than ten-millimeter cause symptoms by compressing nearby vital cranial nerves by enlargement. The most common nerve that gets affected due to the expansion of the tumors are the optic nerves. The compressed optic nerve if not treated leads to vision loss that usually begins with a deterioration of peripheral vision on both sides.

Pituitary tumors if not diagnosed and treated by an experienced doctor, might lead to a condition known as Hematoma Pituitary Apoplexy. A condition caused due to acute haemorrhage or infraction of a pituitary gland.

If you experience the frequent occurrence of any of the above symptoms contact Dr.Sai Sudarshan an experienced and highly skilled Micro neurosurgeon based in Star Hospital, Hyderabad.Blog reviewed By: Dr. Sai Sudarsan
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Dr. Sai Sudarsan

Pulse Hospital, Ranchi. India

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