The abnormal growths that develop in your pituitary glands are called pituitary tumors.
Some pituitary tumors may cause your glands to produce lower levels of hormones while some will result in too many of the hormones that will regulate important functions of your body.
Most of these tumors are noncancerous or benign growths (adenomas). This will remain in your surrounding tissues or pituitary gland and will not spread to the other parts of your body.
Some of the treatments for these tumors are managing your hormone levels with the use of medications, removing the tumor and controlling the growth of the tumor.
Your doctor may also suggest observation or “wait and see” approach.
Some pituitary tumors cause symptoms while others don’t have symptoms.
Pituitary tumors that make hormones (functioning) can have signs and symptoms depending on what kind of hormone they produce and the ones that do not make hormones (nonfunctioning) are related to the pressure they put on other structures and growth.
The smaller tumors are also known as microadenomas while large tumors are also known as macroadenomas that has a measure of about 1 centimeter and can put pressure on the normal pituitary gland because of its size.
The symptoms of pituitary tumor related to pressure are headache and vision of loss or particularly loss of peripheral vision.
The symptoms relates to hormone level changes include:
Over functioning – an overproduction of hormones that can cause specific symptoms and signs or a combination of them;
Symptoms of large tumors that causes hormonal deficiencies include:
Consult your doctor if you have the signs and symptoms of pituitary tumor so that it will be treated and your hormone levels will return to normal. Seek advice if you suspect that multiple endocrine neoplasia type I (MEN I) runs in your family.
The pituitary gland is a tiny, bean-shaped gland that is located at the base of your brain and it influences nearly every part of your body, the hormones that it produces can help regulate relevant functions such as blood pressure, reproduction and growth.
Experts suspect that there is genetic alterations are involved on how these tumors developed.
4 Making a Diagnosis
Your doctor will first conduct a physical exam and several tests to make a diagnosis of pituitary tumors. Tests include:
blood and urine tests – to check if you have deficiency or overproduction of hormones;
vision testing – if the tumor has damaged your sight or peripheral vision;
brain imaging – MRI or CT scan of your brain to check the location and size of the tumor.
Your doctor may also refer you to an endocrinologist.
Many pituitary tumors do not need treatment but for some that requires treatment, it will be based on the:
how far it has grown,
and overall health.
The treatments involve medical experts including:
and radiation oncologist.
They may use surgery, medications, and radiation therapy or a combination of the three.
To remove the tumor pressing on the optic nerves, the two main surgical procedures are:
Transcranial approach (craniotomy) which is done by cutting in your scalp and removing the tumor through the upper part of your skull;
Endoscopic transnasal transsphenoidal approach which is done through your sinuses or nose without the use of cutting.
Radiation therapy – this is used for persisting or recurring tumors after surgery that uses high-energy X-rays. The methods of radiation therapy include:
Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery that uses radiation beams without any cutting;
External beam radiation that uses radiation in small increments over time, usually 5 times a week over a 4-6 week period;
Proton beam therapy that uses positively charged ions (protons). The effect of these radiation therapies might be seen after a few months or even years.
That may help block excess hormone secretion are:
Prolactin-secreting tumors (prolactinomas) such as cabergoline and bromocriptine (Parlodel) to reduce the tumor size and decrease prolactin secretion;
Growth hormone-secreting tumors such as somatostatin (Somatuline Depot, sandostatin) for the decrease in growth hormone production, given by injections every 4 weeks.
FindATopDoc is a trusted resource for patients to find the top doctors in their area. Be visible and accessible with your up to date contact
information, certified patients reviews and online appointment booking functionality.