The pituitary gland makes or stores many different hormones.
The pituitary gland is a tiny organ, the size of a pea, found at the base of the brain. As the “master gland” of the body, it produces many hormones that travel throughout the body, directing certain processes or stimulating other glands to produce other hormones.
The most frequent type of pituitary disorder is a pituitary gland tumor. These tumors are fairly common in adults. They are not brain tumors and are almost always benign (that is, not cancer). In fact, cancerous tumors of this sort are extremely rare.
There are two types of tumors—secretory and non-secretory. Secretory tumors produce too much of a hormone normally made by the pituitary, and non-secretory tumors do not. Both types of tumors can cause problems if they are large and interfere with normal function of the pituitary gland and/or nearby structures in the brain.
The problems caused by pituitary tumors fall into three general categories:
- Hypersecretion – too much of any hormone in the body is caused by a secretory pituitary tumor
- Hyposecretion– too little of any hormone in the body can be caused by a large pituitary tumor, which interferes with the pituitary gland’s ability to produce hormones. Hyposecretion can also result from surgery or radiation of a tumor
- Tumor mass effects – as a pituitary tumor grows and presses against the pituitary gland or other areas in the brain, it may cause headaches, vision problems, or other health effects
Injuries, certain medications, bleeding inside or close to the pituitary, and other conditions can also affect the pituitary gland. Loss of normal pituitary function also can occur after major head trauma.
Some pituitary gland disorders can be managed with medical treatments. Most pituitary tumors require a surgical intervention. To determine the best treatment for a pituitary tumor, our team of doctors will consider whether it is a functional or non-functional tumor, clinical symptoms and vision status, size of the tumor, location, shape and makeup of the tumor, your age, and previous surgeries you have undergone.
To make an appointment with our pituitary gland specialist, call our Manhattan endocrinology practice at 646-759-9388 or click here to make an appointment.