Hypopituitarism (patient information)
Hypopituitarism On the Web
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Hypopituitarism is a disorder in which the pituitary gland does not produce normal amounts of some or all of its hormones. Common causes may be genetic mutations, head trauma, brain tumor, brain surgery, radiation treatment, autoimmune inflammation, stroke, infections of the brain, tuberculosis, and so on. Usual signs and symptoms include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, hypotension, fatigue and weakness, headache, short stature, and disorder in secondary sexual characters. Hormone tests, bone age X-ray test and cranial MRI may help diagnosis. Treatments of hypopituitarism focus on the cause of the disease and hormone replacement therapy.
What are the symptoms?
- Signs and symptoms of hypopituitarism vary, depending on which pituitary hormones are deficient.
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Sensitivity to cold
- Visual disturbances
- Fatigue and weakness
- Slowed growth and sexual development in children
- Short stature
- Loss of armpit or pubic hair, loss of body or facial hair in men
- Cessation of menstrual periods and infertility in women
- Decreased sexual interest in both men and women
- Other health problems may also cause these symptoms. Only a doctor can tell for sure. A person with any of these symptoms should tell the doctor so that the problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
Who is at highest risk?
- Brain tumor
- Brain surgery
- Radiation treatment
- Autoimmune inflammation, such as hypophysitis
- Infections of the brain, such as meningitis
- Infiltrative diseases, such as sarcoidosis, histiocytosis X, and hemochromatosis.
- Severe loss of blood: Sheehan syndrome or postpartum hypopituitarism
- Genetic mutations
- Hormone tests: Patients with hypopituitarism may show low levels of thyroid, adrenal or sex hormones. And the doctor can determine whether these low levels are associated with inadequate pituitary hormone production.
- Bone age x-ray test: Comparing to normal children, bone age test in patients with hypopituitarism may demonstrate a delayed physical maturation.
- Cranial CT or MRI: Since brain diseases are the most common cause of this condition, it may show pituitary tumor signs and other characteristics in MRI.
Treatment opinion depends on the cause and the hormaone types insufficient.
- Treatments of tumor: Surgical removal of tumor is the first selection for the treatment. If failed, radiation therapy, or gamma knife radiation treatment may be helpful.
- Hormone replacement therapy: This is needed to replace hormones that are no longer made by organs under the control of the pituitary gland, including corticosteroids, growth hormone, sex hormones and thyroid hormone. LH and FSH are used in infertile women.
Diseases with similar symptoms
Where to find medical care for hypopituitarism?
At present, there is no preventable measure for hypopituitarism.
What to expect (Outook/Prognosis)?