Pituitary adenoma (tumor) is the presence of abnormal growths on the pituitary gland. This tumor like cells or adenoma can cause excess of secretion of hormones leading to various complications in the body. Pituitary gland is the master gland in our body which manages several important functions.
Most of these adenoma are benign (harmless) and they do not spread to other organs of the body. Various treatment options are available for pituitary adenomas including removing them through surgery, managing its growth through medications.
Pituitary Adenoma Symptoms
The size of adenoma (tumor) may vary from small to large. Small sized tumor is called micro-adenoma and large ones are known as macro-adenoma. Large tumors can exert pressure on the pituitary gland disturbing its functions. Due to excess of pressure created by adenoma the person can have several symptoms like headache, nausea, blurred vision, fatigue, missing periods (in women) and reduced libido (in men) and sudden weight loss. This would cause loss of hair in the scalp and increased urination.
In addition to the above, pituitary adenoma can also cause changes in the normal level of hormones secreted. Often, it leads to overproduction of hormones. Adrenocorticotropin is a hormone secreted by pituitary gland responsible for stimulating adrenal glands. Due to adenoma more amounts of this hormone is produced stimulating the production of cortisol leading to high blood sugar, hypertension, and fat accumulation in the upper back, anxiety and depression. For some people it can cause thinning of skin leading to several scratches and bruises.
Growth hormone (GH) is yet another important hormone secreted by pituitary gland. The presence of adenoma can lead to production of excess of GH, a condition called acromegaly. Some of the symptoms of acromegaly are excess of growth of hands and feet, misaligned teeth, abnormal facial features, joint pain, high blood sugar and heart problems.
Excess of production of prolactin by pituitary gland can affect the normal sexual functions. In women this can cause irregular periods and complete loss of menstrual periods. In men it can lead to erectile dysfunction, infertility, and loss of libido. Pituitary adenoma can also affect the thyroid hormone causing symptoms of hyperthyroidism like loss of weight, nervousness, rapid bowel movements and irregular heartbeat.
The root cause of development of pituitary adenoma is not clear. Some people may inherit this condition from their parents during birth. It is believed to be caused by gene mutation of cells in the pituitary gland.
Who Are At Risk?
Pituitary adenoma can develop in older adults and is rare in children. A person with family history of endocrine neoplasia is more prone to develop this problem than others. Complications of adenoma depend on the growth of tumor and the organ it has affected. It can cause loss of vision by affecting the optical nerves, hormone deficiency and high blood sugar or diabetes insipidus.
Your doctor may order for blood test, urine analysis to check for the presence of excess of hormones. CT scan, MRI scanning will be done for locating the exact size and growth of tumor. In case if the adenoma has put pressure on your optical nerves, he may order for vision test with ophthalmologist.
Pituitary Adenoma Treatment
Since majority of pituitary adenoma are harmless your doctor will not give any treatment unless he is sure that it has caused some problem. He will wait and watch for the growth of tumor by monitoring its size through various tests. Treatment options depend on the symptom and hence it varies in each case.
If pituitary adenoma has lead to overproduction of growth hormones it can be treated with somatostatin drugs. Tumor causing prolactinomas are treted with medications like cabergoline or bromocryptine. Ketoconazole is prescribed for managing Cushing’s tumor.
Pictures of Pituitary Adenoma :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Pituitary Adenoma
It is the best option for treating pituitary adenoma. Patients with large sized tumors and those with conditions of acromegaly would undergo surgery for removing the tumor. The doctor will analyze the patient’s health condition and age before opting for surgery. Often, tumors are removed through endonasal procedure with general anesthesia. The entire procedure will take about 2-4 hours and no external incision is made. However the patient is at risk of developing blood clot or stroke after surgery.
Most of the surgical patients will undergo radiation therapy to prevent further occurrence of adenomas.
Prognosis of the person with pituitary adenoma depends on the size of the tumor and how far it has invaded other organs.