Pituitary Gland

Pituitary gland disorders include those of excess hormone production, hormone deficiency, and tumor formation.  Such tumors are usually benign but may produce hormones.

Excess hormones that can be produced and cause symptoms.  Such hormones may include prolactin (prolactinoma), ACTH (Cushing’s disease), and growth hormone (acromegaly or gigantism). ​Prolactinomas commonly cause breast milk production, loss of periods in women, low testosterone in men, and low libido.

Cushing’s disease is caused by a tumor that produces ACTH in excess and can cause weight gain, fatigue, easy bruising, muscle weakness, loss of bone mineral density, and diabetes.  Mood disorders can also occur and result in anxiety and depression.

Acromegaly is caused by a tumor that produces too much growth hormone.  Symptoms include enlargement of the hands and feet, headaches, increased sweating.  Patients with acromegaly have an increased risk of heart failure and colon cancer.

Any pituitary tumor that becomes large enough may encroach on surrounding structures, thus causing vision loss or headaches. Pituitary tumors can be treated with medication, radiation, and/or surgery.