BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPituitary tumorTumor - pituitary; Pituitary adenomaA pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a small gland at the base of the brain. It regulates the body's balance of many hormones. Causes Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous (benign). Up to 10% to 20% of people have pituitary tumors. Many of these tumors do not cause symptoms and are never diagnosed during the person's lifetime.BenignBenign refers to a condition, tumor, or growth that is not cancerous. This means that it does not spread to other parts of the body. It does not in...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article The pituitary is part of the endocrine system. The pituitary helps control the release of hormones from other endocrine glands, such as the thyroid, sex glands (testes or ovaries), and adrenal glands. The pituitary also releases hormones that directly affect body tissues, such as bones and the breast milk glands. The pituitary hormones include:EndocrineEndocrine glands release (secrete) hormones into the bloodstream. The endocrine glands include:AdrenalHypothalamusIslets of Langerhans in the pancrea...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Adrenal glandsThe adrenal glands are two small triangle-shaped glands. One gland is located on top of each kidney.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) Growth hormone (GH) Prolactin Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) No audio descriptionWith audio descriptionRelated video goes here for no-HTML5 browsersRelated video goes here for no-HTML5 browsersAs a pituitary tumor grows, the normal hormone-releasing cells of the pituitary may be damaged. This results in the pituitary gland not producing enough of its hormones. This condition is called hypopituitarism.HypopituitarismHypopituitarism is a condition in which the pituitary gland does not produce normal amounts of some or all of its hormones.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article The causes of pituitary tumors are unknown. Some tumors are caused by hereditary disorders such as multiple endocrine neoplasia I (MEN I).Multiple endocrine neoplasia IMultiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type I is a disease in which one or more of the endocrine glands are overactive or forms a tumor. It is passed do...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article The pituitary gland can be affected by other brain tumors that develop in the same part of the brain (skull base), resulting in similar symptoms. Symptoms Some pituitary tumors produce too much of one or more hormones. As a result, symptoms of one or more of the following conditions can occur:Hyperthyroidism (thyroid gland makes too much of its hormones; this is an extremely rare condition of pituitary tumors) HyperthyroidismHyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone. The condition is often called overactive thyroid.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Cushing syndrome (body has a higher than normal level of the hormone cortisol) Cushing syndromeCushing syndrome is a disorder that occurs when your body has a high level of the hormone cortisol.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Gigantism (abnormal growth due to higher than normal level of growth hormone during childhood) or acromegaly (higher than normal level of growth hormone in adults) GigantismGigantism is abnormal growth due to an excess of growth hormone (GH) during childhood.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article AcromegalyAcromegaly is a condition in which there is too much growth hormone (GH) in the body.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Nipple discharge and irregular or absent menstrual periods in women Nipple dischargeNipple discharge is any fluid that comes out of the nipple area in your breast.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Decreased sexual function in men Symptoms caused by pressure from a larger pituitary tumor may include:Changes in vision such as double vision, visual field loss (loss of peripheral vision), drooping eyelids or changes in color vision. Headache. Lack of energy. Nasal drainage of clear, salty fluid. Nausea and vomiting. Problems with the sense of smell. In rare cases, these symptoms occur suddenly and can be severe (pituitary apoplexy).Pituitary apoplexyPituitary apoplexy is a rare, but serious condition of the pituitary gland.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Exams and Tests Your health care provider will perform a physical examination. The provider will note any problems with double vision and visual field, such as a loss of side (peripheral) vision or the ability to see in certain areas.The exam will check for signs of too much cortisol (Cushing syndrome), too much growth hormone (acromegaly), or too much prolactin (prolactinoma).Tests to check endocrine function may be ordered, including:Cortisol levels -- dexamethasone suppression test, urine cortisol test, salivary cortisol test Dexamethasone suppression testDexamethasone suppression test measures whether adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) secretion by the pituitary can be suppressed.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Urine cortisolThe cortisol urine test measures the level of cortisol in the urine. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (steroid) hormone produced by the adrenal gland. C...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article FSH level FSHThe follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) blood test measures the level of FSH in blood. FSH is a hormone released by the pituitary gland, located on t...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) level LH level LHThe LH blood test measures the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in blood. LH is a hormone released by the pituitary gland, located on the undersid...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Prolactin level Prolactin levelProlactin is a hormone released by the pituitary gland. The prolactin test measures the amount of prolactin in the blood.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Testosterone/estradiol levels Thyroid hormone levels -- free T4 test, TSH testFree T4 testT4 (thyroxine) is the main hormone produced by the thyroid gland. A laboratory test can be done to measure the amount of free T4 in your blood. Fre...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article TSH testA TSH test measures the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland. It prompts the thyroid g...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Tests that help confirm the diagnosis include the following:Visual fields MRI of head Treatment Surgery to remove the tumor is often needed, especially if the tumor is pressing on the nerves that control vision (optic nerves).Most of the time, pituitary tumors can be surgically removed through the nose and sinuses (transsphenoidal). If the tumor cannot be removed this way, it is removed through the skull.Radiation therapy may be used to shrink the tumor in people who cannot have surgery. It may also be used if the tumor returns after surgery.Radiation therapyRadiation therapy uses high-powered x-rays, particles, or radioactive seeds to kill cancer cells.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article In some cases, medicines are prescribed to shrink certain types of tumors.Small tumors found incidentally during an MRI for other symptoms can often be followed with repeat MRI imaging over time if they are not causing any hormonal abnormality. Many of these tumors do not grow. Support Groups More information and support for people with pituitary tumors and their families can be found at:National Cancer Institute -- www.cancer.gov/types/pituitary Pituitary Network Association -- pituitary.org Outlook (Prognosis) If the tumor can be surgically removed, the outlook is fair to good, depending on whether the entire tumor is removed. Possible Complications The most serious complication is blindness. This can occur if the optic nerve is seriously damaged.The tumor or its removal may cause lifelong hormone imbalances. The affected hormones may need to be replaced, and you may need to take medicine for the rest of your life.Tumors and surgery can sometimes damage the posterior pituitary (back part of the gland). This can lead to diabetes insipidus, a condition with symptoms of frequent urination and extreme thirst.Diabetes insipidusDiabetes insipidus (DI) is an uncommon condition in which the kidneys are unable to prevent the excretion of water. DI is not the same as diabetes me...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article When to Contact a Medical Professional Contact your provider if you develop any symptoms of a pituitary tumor.Open ReferencesReferencesDorsey JF, Salinas RD, Dang M, et al. Cancer of the central nervous system. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 63.Melmed S. Pituitary masses and tumors. In: Melmed S, Auchus RJ, Goldfine AB, Koenig RJ, Rosen CJ, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 9.AllVideoImagesTogEndocrine glands - illustration Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the rate of metabolism in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).Endocrine glandsillustrationThe pituitary gland - illustration The pituitary is a gland attached to the base of the brain. The pituitary secretes hormones that regulate the body's balance of many hormones controlling growth, development, and metabolism of the body.The pituitary glandillustrationEndocrine glands - illustration Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the rate of metabolism in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).Endocrine glandsillustrationThe pituitary gland - illustration The pituitary is a gland attached to the base of the brain. The pituitary secretes hormones that regulate the body's balance of many hormones controlling growth, development, and metabolism of the body.The pituitary glandillustration Tests for Pituitary tumor Prolactin blood testRelated Information Endocrine glands(Special Topic)Gigantism(Condition)Acromegaly(Condition)Growth hormone test(Medical Test)Hyperthyroidism(Condition)TSH test(Medical Test)Cushing syndrome(Condition)ACTH blood test(Medical Test)Prolactinoma(Condition)Prolactin blood test(Medical Test) Review Date: 5/13/2021 Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Board Certified in Metabolism/Endocrinology, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. 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