Pituitary Gland and Pituitary Tumors
A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland. Most pituitary tumors are not cancer (benign). The pituitary is a small gland in the brain. It makes hormones that affect many other glands and many functions in your body. Apr 12, · The pituitary is the "master control gland" - it makes hormones that affect growth and the functions of other glands in the body. Pituitary tumors are common, but often they don't cause health problems. Most people with pituitary tumors never even know they have them.
The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items. The pituitary is a small gland attached to the base of the brain behind the nose in an area called the pituitary fossa or sella turcica.
The pituitary is often called the "master gland" because it controls the secretion of most of the hormones in what is a pituitary tumor body. A normal pituitary gland weighs less than 1 gram and is about the size and shape of a kidney bean. The function of the pituitary can be compared to that of a household thermostat. The thermostat constantly measures the temperature what is a pituitary tumor the house and sends signals to the heater to turn it on or off to maintain a steady, comfortable temperature.
The pituitary constantly monitors bodily functions and sends signals to remote organs and glands to monitor their function and maintain the appropriate environment. The ideal "thermostat" setting for a body depends on many factors, including level of activity, gender, body composition, etc. The pituitary is divided into distinct sections: the anterior pituitary gland and the posterior pituitary gland. Each part contains unique cells and releases different hormones that are responsible for specific control duties.
The anterior pituitary is formed from the same tissue as the pharynx. The posterior pituitary is formed from an out-pouching of the brain and is actually an extension of the hypothalamusa region of the brain that is connected to the pituitary gland and controls its function. The hypothalamus and pituitary together comprise the neuroendocrine system.
The anterior pituitary accounts for about 80 percent of the pituitary gland size what is a 256k connection is composed of the anterior lobe and the intermediate zone. The anterior lobe is responsible for producing the majority of the signaling hormones released into the blood stream.
The posterior pituitary gland develops very early in life and does not produce any hormones on its own. However, it does contain the nerve endings of brain cells neurons that arise from the hypothalamus. These neurons produce the what is a pituitary tumor vasopressin and oxytocin which are transported down the pituitary stalk into the posterior pituitary. They are stored for later release into the bloodstream.
The pituitary and hypothalamus work together to regulate the daily functions of the body as well as play an essential role in growth, development and reproduction.
The hypothalamus secretes two types of hormones releasing hormones and inhibiting hormones that control secretion of other hormones from the anterior pituitary. The pituitary gland performs its key functions by releasing several signaling hormones that consequently control the activities of other organs. The pituitary produces the following hormones: Adrenocorticotropic hormone ACTH — ACTH triggers how to succeed in commercial real estate adrenal glands to release hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone.
Growth hormone GH — This is the principal hormone that regulates metabolism and growth. Luteinizing hormone LH and Follicle-stimulating hormone FSH — These hormones control the production of sex hormones estrogen and testosterone and are important in regulating menstruation in women.
Melanocyte-stimulating hormone MSH — MSH regulates the production of melanin, a dark pigment, through melanocytes in the skin. Increased melanin production produces pigmentation or tanning of the skin. Some conditions causing excessive production of MSH may lead to darkening of the skin.
Prolactin PRL — This hormone stimulates secretion of breast milk. Thyroid hormones control the basal metabolic rate and play an important role in growth and maturation. Thyroid hormones affect almost every organ in the body. Pituitary Adenomas Pituitary adenomas are the what is a pituitary tumor most common intracranial tumor after gliomasmeningiomas and schwannomas. A large majority of pituitary adenomas are benign and are relatively slow growing. Adenomas are by far the most common disease affecting the pituitary gland.
These tumors most commonly affect people in their 30s what should a child know before starting kindergarten 40s, although they can be diagnosed in children as well. Most of these tumors can be successfully treated. Pituitary tumors can vary in size and behavior. Tumors that produce hormones are called functioning adenomas, while what is a pituitary tumor that do not are called nonfunctioning adenomas.
Tumors smaller than 10 millimeters are called microadenomas and often secrete anterior pituitary hormones. These smaller, functional adenomas are usually detected earlier because the increased levels of hormones cause abnormal changes in the body.
Approximately 50 percent of pituitary adenomas are diagnosed when they are smaller than 5 millimeters in size. Adenomas larger than 10 millimeters the size of a dime are called macroadenomas and usually do not secrete hormones.
The symptoms of a pituitary tumor, other than mass effect, generally result from endocrine dysfunction. For example, this dysfunction can cause overproduction of growth hormones, as in acromegaly gigantismor underproduction what is a pituitary tumor thyroid hormone, as in hypothyroidism. Hormonal imbalances can impact fertility, menstrual periods, heat and cold tolerance, as well as the skin and body in other ways.
The most common circumstance involves compression of the optic nerves leading to a gradual loss of vision. This vision loss usually begins with a deterioration of peripheral vision on both sides.
The presence of three or more of the following symptoms may indicate a pituitary tumor:. When a pituitary tumor is suspected, a physician will perform a physical examination as well as vision testing to detect visual field deficits, such as loss of peripheral vision. Hormone testing of the blood and urine and imaging studies of the brain are used to confirm diagnosis. The most accurate diagnostic imaging test is magnetic resonance imaging MRIperformed with and without a contrast agent.
Early intervention provides the best chance for cure or control of a pituitary tumor and its side effects. There are three types of treatment used for pituitary tumors: surgical removal of the tumor, radiation therapy using high-dose x-rays to kill tumor cells and medication therapy to shrink or eradicate the tumor.
The transsphenoidal approach involves accessing the tumor through the nasal cavity using either a microsurgical or endoscopic approach, whichever the surgeon prefers. Surgery is usually combined with the use of computer guidance, allowing a minimally invasive approach. In prolactinomas prolactin hormone-secreting microadenomas or macroadenomasthe use of a specific dopamine agonist medication is generally advised with surgery reserved for those tumors failing to show a good response to the treatment.
Transsphenoidal surgery is generally very well tolerated because of its minimally invasive characteristic, few side effects and quick patient recovery. Patients can often leave the hospital as early as two to three days after surgery. The transcranial approach, or craniotomyis less commonly used and reserved for particularly large and invasive tumors which cannot be safely removed through the transsphenoidal route.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill abnormal pituitary tumor cells. Radiation is extremely effective in stopping tumor growth and, with time, will lead to tumor shrinkage.
Radiation therapy may be an option if the tumor cannot be treated effectively through medication or surgery. There are three types of radiation suggested:. Standard external beam radiotherapy uses a form of radiation called photons. These photons are generated by the use of a linear accelerator. Proton beam treatment employs a different type of radiation called protons. Proton therapy can generally be more targeted than photon therapy, with the ability to deliver higher doses of radioactivity.
Higher doses of radiation carry a better chance of tumor control but also a higher risk of injury to surrounding normal brain tissue.
Stereotactic radiosurgery Gamma KnifeNovalis BrainLab and CyberKnife combines standard external beam radiotherapy with a technique that focuses the radiation through many different ports. This treatment tends to sustain less damage to tissues adjacent to the pituitary and can be delivered in fewer sessions.
Prolactinomas are the most common secreting pituitary adenoma seen clinically. In general, medical therapy is the first course of treatment. With medical management, about 80 percent of patients have prolactin levels restored to normal through dopamine agonist therapy. The most commonly used agents are bromocriptine or cabergoline.
The size of the tumor will be what is a pituitary tumor in the majority of patients to varying degrees, often resulting in improved vision, resolution of headaches and restored menstruation and fertility in women.
Cabergoline is currently the most commonly used of the two drugs, having less side effects and usually requiring only a twice a week dosing schedule.
Bromocriptine requires a once a day dosing regime and generally has more side effects including gastrointestinal upset, nausea and dizziness with getting up too fast.
Cabergoline has also been shown to be effective in patients who are resistant to bromocriptine therapy. In patients with microadenomas, dopamine agonist therapy is usually what is a pituitary tumor first for a period of several months.
If the tumors do not respond what is a pituitary tumor medication therapy, then surgery is considered. In general, the recommendation is that it is done within six to 12 months of the start of the medication therapy. The AANS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products or physicians referenced in these patient fact how to make baked ziti without ricotta cheese. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice.
Register with iGive. Joint Providership. Pituitary Gland and Pituitary Tumors The pituitary is a small gland attached to the base of the brain behind the nose in an area called the pituitary fossa or sella turcica. The pituitary is responsible for controlling and coordinating the following: Growth and development Organ function kidneys, breasts and uterus Gland function thyroid, gonads and adrenal glands Pituitary Anatomy and Functions.
What are pituitary tumors?
Mar 17, · Pituitary tumors are often considered brain tumors, and they make up 12 to 19 percent of all primary brain tumors. But most pituitary tumors are benign and most of them are medatlove.com: Ann Pietrangelo. Not all pituitary tumors (called pituitary adenomas) cause symptoms. But when they do, they can cause many different types of symptoms. The first signs of a pituitary adenoma often depend on whether the tumor is functional (making excess hormones) or non-functional (not making excess hormones). Although rare, most pituitary tumors are noncancerous (benign), comprising only 7 percent of brain tumors. However, because of the location of the pituitary gland, at the base of the skull, a pituitary tumor grows upward. Eventually, most pituitary tumors will .
Please understand that our phone lines must be clear for urgent medical care needs. When this changes, we will update this website. Our vaccine supply remains limited. A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a small gland in the brain. It is located behind the back of the nose. It makes hormones that affect many other glands and many functions in your body.
Most pituitary tumors are not cancerous benign. But they can cause the pituitary to make too few or too many hormones, causing problems in the body.
Pituitary tumors that make too many hormones will cause other glands to make more hormones. That will cause symptoms related to each of the specific hormones. Many pituitary tumors will also press against the nearby optic nerves. This can cause vision problems. As a result, they are not diagnosed. Or they are found only during a routine brain imaging test. These tumors are the most common type. You may not have any symptoms until the tumor is a certain size. When the tumor is big enough, it may cause headaches and vision problems.
Large pituitary tumors can crush normal pituitary cells. This leads to symptoms caused by decreased hormone production. These benign tumors are also common. They make too much prolactin. If you are a woman, high prolactin levels can make your menstrual period irregular, or even stop your period.
These tumors can also cause you to make breastmilk, even if you are not pregnant or nursing. If you are a man, you may have erectile dysfunction or a lack of interest in sex. You may also have enlarged breasts, a low sperm count, or less body hair. In time, you may have headaches and vision problems. ACTH adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulates the adrenal gland to make steroids that affect metabolism.
These are called glucocorticoids. They reduce redness and swelling inflammation all over the body. They also slow down your immune system. This disease causes fat buildup in your face, neck, back, belly abdomen , and chest. Also your arms and legs tend to become thin. You may also have purple stretch marks and high blood pressure. These tumors can also weaken your bones. These tumors make too much growth hormone.
In children, too much growth hormone stimulates the growth of almost all the bones in the body. When that occurs, the result is called gigantism. Gigantism can include increased height over 7 feet , very quick growth, joint pain, and heavy sweating. In adults, too much growth hormone causes a condition called acromegaly.
It may include:. Experts don't know what causes these tumors. But a condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia type I MEN 1 may raise your risk. This condition is passed down through families. Symptoms depend on the type of tumor and the affected area of the pituitary gland. These tumors can lead to symptoms caused by too much or too little of the pituitary hormones.
The symptoms may also look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam. You may also need one of these tests:. Blood and urine tests. These tests will check hormone levels in your blood and urine. This test uses large magnets, radio waves, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures in your body.
During this test, the provider removes a tissue sample with a needle or during surgery. It is then checked under a microscope. A biopsy can tell if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. Surgery to remove the tumor. Surgery is often a better option for smaller tumors.
External radiation external beam therapy. This treatment sends high levels of radiation right to the cancer cells. Special shields may be used to protect the tissue around the treatment area.
These treatments are painless and usually last a few minutes. Radiosurgery stereotactic radiosurgery or gamma knife treatment. This uses 1 high dose of radiation sent right into the cancerous tissue. It causes less damage to nearby tissues. It is not actually surgery. But like surgery, it is a 1-session treatment that removes the tumor. Different types of medicine may be used to control how much growth hormone is made by the tumor.
Most pituitary tumors are not cancer benign. Your healthcare provider may order blood and urine tests, a CT scan, MRI, or biopsy to diagnose the tumor. Health Home Conditions and Diseases. Most pituitary tumors are benign. Symptoms vary depending on the type of tumor and the affected area of the pituitary gland. Your health care provider may order blood and urine tests, CT scan, MRI, or biopsy to diagnose the tumor. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, or medication.
What are pituitary tumors? Below are the main types of pituitary tumors. Nonfunctional adenomas null cell adenomas These tumors are the most common type. Prolactin-producing tumors prolactinomas These benign tumors are also common. Growth hormone-producing tumors These tumors make too much growth hormone. It may include: Extra growth in the skull, hands, and feet Deepened voice A change in the facial appearance because of extra growth in the facial bones A wide spacing of teeth because of the growth of facial bones Joint pain Snoring or sleep apnea Diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance What causes pituitary tumors?
What are the symptoms of pituitary tumors? How are pituitary tumors diagnosed? You may also need one of these tests: Blood and urine tests. CT scan. This test uses X-rays and a computer to make images of your body. How are pituitary tumors treated? Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on: How old you are Your overall health and medical history How sick you are How well you can handle certain medicines, treatments, or therapies How long the condition is expected to last Your opinion or preference Treatment may include: Surgery to remove the tumor.
When should I call my healthcare provider? Call your healthcare provider if your symptoms return or you have new symptoms. Key points A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, or medicine.