The pituitary gland is a small bean-shaped gland located just at the base of the brain (behind the nose) and between the corners and in an area called the pituitary cavity or sella turcica. Although the pituitary gland is small in size, it affects almost every part of the body. The hormones produced help regulate important functions such as growth, blood pressure and human reproduction. In this article, we are going to provide information about the enlargement of the pituitary gland and the result that it produces, namely pituitary gland tumors.
As mentioned, the pituitary gland controls many important factors such as growth, heart rate and the ability to have children. The pituitary gland weighs less than 1 gram. It is often referred to as the main gland; Because it commands the other glands in the body to produce more hormones. These hormones then travel throughout the human body and tell the organs what they need to do to maintain all functions.
Simply put, pituitary function can be compared to the function of a home thermostat. The thermostat continuously measures the temperature of the house and sends signals to turn the heater on or off to maintain a constant and comfortable temperature. The pituitary gland also constantly monitors the body’s functions and sends remote signals to organs and other glands to control their function and maintain the body system. The ideal regulation of the pituitary gland in the body depends on many factors such as activity level, gender, body composition, etc.
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No, in over 99% of patients, this is NOT a cancer; it is benign. Although the tumor is benign, it can cause problems because of its size, causing loss of vision, loss of normal pituitary function (hypopituitarism) and/or headache or because of excessive hormone production by the tumor.
This depends on the type of tumor and the size of the tumor. A large tumor may cause loss of vision, particularly peripheral vision, if it compresses the optic chiasm. Headache may also occur; the type of headache varies from patient to patient. Headache may occur with a large or a small tumor. A tumor may interfere with normal pituitary function causing hypothyroidism , adrenal insufficiency , hypogonadism (loss of sexual function and fertility in men, loss of menstrual periods or fertility problems in women). Occasionally a pituitary tumor causes diabetes insipidus, which results in frequent urination and excessive thirst. Diabetes insipidus is not high blood sugar levels; it is a problem with the ability of the kidney to retain fluid because of a deficiency of the pituitary hormone, vasopressin that regulates water balance.
The best treatment depends on the type of pituitary tumor. Prolactin producing tumors are most successfully treated with medical therapy (pills). In over 90% of patients, medical therapy (pills) reduces tumor size and blood prolactin levels. In approximately 8-10% of patients, medical treatment is not adequately effective and surgery, and possibly radiation therapy, may be necessary.
The best treatment for other types of pituitary tumors is removal of the tumor by an experienced neurosurgeon who performs pituitary surgery frequently.
In addition to causing pressure on the normal pituitary gland and adjacent nerves and brain, a non-functioning pituitary adenoma can cause pressure on the lining around the brain and the pituitary gland, leading to increasing headache usually behind the eyes.
Pituitary cancer is very rare. Still, the tumors can cause serious problems, either because of their size or because they make extra hormones your body doesn’t need .They’re typically treated with surgery, medicine, or radiation.
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