Pituitary tumors may or may not secrete hormones. Some examples of symptoms: presence of secretion of milk in the breasts, outside the breastfeeding period, in addition to facial changes and increased number of shoes, headaches and vision disorder.
What is the pituitary gland?
Pituitary gland is a small gland, the size of a pea, which is located in the geometric center of the head. She is the great teacher of the endocrine system: she controls the functions of the thyroid, adrenals, breasts, growth, water control and the gonad system. To do this, it produces or distributes different hormones. Variations in the production of these can lead to several health problems.
What are the main diseases of the pituitary gland?
Diseases are caused by decreased or increased production of hormones produced by the pituitary gland, usually by benign tumors in the gland.
- Prolactin hormone – its excess causes milk production by the breasts, loss of libido, menstrual irregularities, infertility and bone changes;
- ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic) hormone – works by stimulating the adrenal (or adrenal) glands, which produce cortisol and various other hormones – its excess leads to Cushing’s disease;
- GH (growth hormone) – causes gigantism in children or acromegaly (enlarged extremities) in adults.
What causes excess production of hormones by the pituitary gland?
They are usually tumors. They account for about a fifth of all brain tumors, and some of their types clearly predominate in women. These tumors can secrete the pituitary hormones, only in much larger quantities. This can lead to different pathologies, depending on the hormone secreted.
It is worth mentioning that these tumors have a benign behavior, and their main consequence, often, is the increased secretion of the hormone itself. In some cases, there is also headache and changes in vision, as they are tumors that are very close to the nerves responsible for vision.
How to identify pituitary tumors?
The diagnosis of pituitary tumors is made by means of magnetic resonance imaging.