Pituitary Tumor

Rush offers team-based care for pituitary tumors, including transsphenoidal surgery to remove tumors with less pain and faster recovery.

Rush offers team-based care for pituitary tumors, including transsphenoidal surgery to remove tumors with less pain and faster recovery.

Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths of tissues (known as neoplasms) that grow in the pituitary gland and are usually benign (not cancerous). The pituitary gland – sometimes called the “master gland” – is a small endocrine gland at the base of the brain that regulates the secretion of many important hormones throughout the body.

While pituitary tumors are not common, they are curable. However, some side effects and symptoms — such as vision loss — may not be treatable.

Signs You Have a Pituitary Tumor

Most pituitary tumors are benign (not cancerous) and called pituitary adenomas. Pituitary tumors are classified by whether they secrete hormones, and, if so, which type of hormone.

Pituitary tumors that do not secrete hormones can grow large without being noticed. They may push on nearby structures in the brain and cause the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Vision loss or vision changes (blurred or double vision, loss of peripheral vision)
  • Fatigue, low energy, depression, weight gain, constipation, feeling cold, muscle aches, dry skin, breaking hair — all are symptoms of hypogonadism, hypothyroidism or adrenal insufficiency caused by the tumor pushing on the pituitary gland and decreasing secretion of pituitary hormones

If a pituitary tumor is secreting hormones, symptoms will depend on which hormones it releases.

If too much prolactin is released, symptoms include the following:

  • Irregular menstrual periods and infertility
  • Milky discharge from the breasts
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased sex drive

Too much adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) can cause excess steroid hormones and symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome:

  • Abdominal obesity
  • Rounding and redness of the face
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bruising easily
  • Stretch marks on the abdomen
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Changes in menstrual periods, such as missing periods
  • New or increased hair growth
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Too much growth hormone may cause the following symptoms in adults:

  • Enlargement of the hands, feet, nose, lips and ears
  • Growth of bones in the face, particularly protruding brow or lower jaw
  • Thickening of the tongue, which can cause snoring, sleep apnea or other sleep problems
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Increased sweating, fatigue and weight gain

And the following symptoms in children:

  • Rapid growth
  • Tall stature
  • Increased sweating

Too much thyroid-stimulating hormone may cause the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased sweating
  • Feeling warm or hot
  • Increased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Heart racing
  • Tremor of the fingers
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in menstrual periods

Pituitary Tumor Providers at Rush

Learn more about pituitary tumor providers at Rush.

Meet our pituitary tumor providers
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