What are the symptoms of a Pituitary Tumour?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 15, 2013

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Pituitary tumor is one that can cause the pituitary gland to produce too much or too few hormones, this of course can cause trouble to your body. Those pituitary tumors, which measure to about 1 centimeter and are considered to be larger are known as macrodenomas, whereas the smaller ones are called microadenomas. The macroadenomas hold the ability to put pressure on the rest of the pituitary gland and nearby structures.

The basic symptoms that you will notice for a pituitary tumor:

•    frequent headaches,
•    vision is becoming less sharp,
•    trouble seeing objects in a particular visual field,
•    less frequent or no menstrual periods in women,
•    getting impotent or have decreased sexual desire, and loss of facial hair in men, slowed growth in children.

The pituitary tumor also causes the symptoms of Cushing's disease, which is a condition that is caused by prolonged overproduction of adrenal glucocorticoids and androgens. These symptoms include:

•    obesity that is most noticeable on the trunk of the body,
•    thin skin,
•    easy bruising,
•    red or purple lines (striae) on the skin of the abdomen,
•    a moon-shaped face,
•    muscle wasting,
•    excess body hair in women,
•    acne, absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea) and
•    psychiatric symptoms, such as depression and psychosis.

There is a possibility that this Cushing’s disease can also trigger osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
The different pituitary tumors have different symptoms, so let us take a closer look at them:

Prolactin-producing tumor

This particular tumor, occasionally causes women, who aren’t pregnant to produce breast milk, it is known as galactorrhea. More often, it causes absent periods, also known as amenorrhea. On the other hand in men, it causes impotence and decreased sex drive.

Growth hormone-producing tumor

If in case, someone develops this tumor before puberty then the child will have symptoms of giantism, which is also known as gigantism. The symptoms are:

•    abnormally rapid growth,
•    unusually tall stature,
•    a very large head,
•    coarse facial features,
•    very large hands and feet, and sometimes,
•    behavioral and visual problems.

If the tumor develops after puberty, then the symptoms show up differently for acromegaly, such as:

•    thick and oily skin,
•    coarse features with thick lips and a broad nose,
•    prominent cheekbones,
•    protruding forehead and lower jaw,
•    deep voice,
•    enlargement of the hands and feet,
•    barrel-shaped chest,
•    excessive sweating,
•    pain and stiffness in the joints.

Nonfunctioning pituitary tumor

Such tumors do not produce excessive amounts of hormone. They may be found:
•    when magnetic resonance imaging or MRI of the brain is done for other reasons,
•    if they get large enough to affect the production of other pituitary hormones,
•    if they grow beyond the sella turcica and are causing pressure on the brain or optic nerves that are next to the sella turcica.

Prolactin-secreting tumors

The tumors that are prolactin-producing have the ability to depress the pituitary's ability to make and release other hormones. Usually, it has been found that sex hormones are the first one to get depressed followed by thyroid hormone and then adrenal hormones.

The symptoms related to low sex hormone levels include:

• loss of sexual drive,
• erectile dysfunction,  
• absence of menstrual periods.

If a tumor keeps growing, the person may develop fatigue and lightheadedness because the thyroid and adrenal glands aren't functioning properly.

You should call on a doctor, if you face any of the above mentioned problems.

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