It is usually when a person faces certain symptoms and he or she goes to visit a doctor and finds out about the pituitary tumor. In order to be sure of the pituitary tumor, your doctor will first review your symptoms, medical history and current medications. This is an important first step as certain medical conditions or prescription drugs can have significant effects on your levels of body hormones, and this would reduce any such risks. For example, psychiatric drugs called neuroleptics can increase blood levels of prolactin, and prescription glucocorticoids, and even therapeutic injections of dexamethasone — Decadron and other brand names (used in the treatment of joint pain), can cause high blood levels of glucocorticoids.
Your doctor will look for the signs and symptoms that will show if your body is overproducing any particular pituitary hormone. For instance, your doctor may look for breast milk production caused by a prolactin-producing tumor or a moon-shaped face and abdominal marks caused by an ACTH-producing tumor, such symptoms are indicative towards a risk of pituitary tumor.
After getting all the details, your doctor will conduct some tests to find out and be sure, if you might have pituitary tumor or not. Usually, the first test is a blood test to check for your hormone levels. Detailed images of the pituitary gland are obtained with the help of a MRI scan. This test involves an injection of a dye called gadolinium, which is used to highlight brain structures.
In case, you have visual symptoms or the MRI scan shows a large pituitary tumor then your doctor will refer you to an eye specialist or an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam, including special eye tests that detect visual loss, in specific visual fields.
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