Pituitary Tumor

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The pituitary tumor, also called pituitary adenomas, can be defined as an abnormal growth that grows at the pituitary gland, which could affect the production of hormones that are produced by the pituitary gland. Pituitary glands are located at the base of the brain. It influences the secretion of most hormones in the body, and […] Read More

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Pituitary Tumor

The pituitary tumor, also called pituitary adenomas, can be defined as an abnormal growth that grows at the pituitary gland, which could affect the production of hormones that are produced by the pituitary gland. Pituitary glands are located at the base of the brain. It influences the secretion of most hormones in the body, and essentially maintains the body’s internal environment, hence, it is often referred to as the master gland. According to a study, the rate of survival of pituitary tumors is 82% with about 14120 persons being affected yearly. Pituitary tumors are mostly benign and do spread to the other part of the body. TYPES OF PITUITARY TUMOR
  • Functional Pituitary Tumor
This is responsible for the synthesis of too much hormone. They could be discovered while they are still benign.
  • Non-functional Pituitary Tumor 
They are usually malignant. They do not produce any hormone and may not be discovered still they grow big and start pressing surrounding tissues, nerves, or part of the brain. RISK FACTORS People with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 have the potential of developing a pituitary tumor or people with a family medical record of having hereditary conditions such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1. DIAGNOSIS  A pituitary tumor can be diagnosed through:
  • Doctor’s Examination
You will be checked for symptoms. Your medical record and family history will be examined for hereditary conditions and syndrome.
  • Laboratory Tests
  • Genetic testing may be carried out.
  • Blood and urine tests to check your hormonal level.
  • Imagery Tests
Scans such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scans may be carried out. TREATMENT Early diagnosis of pituitary tumor provides a great possibility for a cure and effective management of its symptoms. Treatment of pituitary tumor includes:
  • Surgery
Surgically removing the tumor through the nasal cavity using an endoscopic approach or any method the surgeon considers best
  • Radiation
The use of radiation to stop tumor growth and shrink the tumor. It could be standard external beam radiotherapy, proton beam treatment, or stereotactic radiosurgery.
  1. Medication 
This is used to control hormonal levels could also be given. Such medications include octreotide, lanreotide, mitotane, etc. COMPLICATIONS OF PITUITARY TUMORS When pituitary tumors are left untreated for a while, it could bring serious health problems such as:
  • Loss of vision
  • Severe hormonal deficiency
  • Sometimes pituitary apoplexy – occurs when bleeding suddenly happens in the tumor

Symptoms

SYMPTOMS 

Most symptoms don’t show and are discovered accidentally when checking for something else

Pituitary tumors can cause different symptoms due to the different hormones they produce and the level of the hormone in the body.

Symptoms due to hormonal deficiency include:

  • Nausea 
  • Weakness
  • Little or no menstruation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sensitivity to cold

Symptoms due to excess hormone include:

Cushing syndrome results from an increase in cortisol. Symptoms may be:

  • High blood and sugar level
  • Muscle weakness with thinning of arms and legs
  • Accumulation of fat at the upper part of the body
  • Bone weakening
  • Acne and stretch marks
  • Irritability and depression

Acromegaly due to excessive growth hormone. Its symptoms involve:

  • Enlarged hands and feet
  • Joint pains
  • Teeth are misaligned
  • High blood sugar
  • Too much sweating
  • Too much body hair

The increase of prolactin by the pituitary tumor affects sexual hormones such as estrogen in women and testosterone in men. It could still result in:

  • Loss of sex drive  in men
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Irregular menstruation in a woman 
  • Milky discharge in women
  • Low sperm count
  • Growing of breast in men

The increase of the hormone thyroxine could lead to hyperthyroidism, hence, increasing metabolic rate which could lead to:

  • Irregular heartbeat,
  • A frequent bowel movement,
  • Excessive sweating,
  • Body shocks and shakings
  • Anxiety
  • Increase sensitivity to heat, etc.

Causes

CAUSES OF PITUITARY TUMOR

The cause of the pituitary tumor is not yet known although researchers suspect it could be a genetic mutation that could be responsible. Also, hereditary conditions such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1( MEN1)

FAQ

What problems can a pituitary tumor cause?

The pituitary tumor can cause various symptoms depending on if it is a functional tumor or a nonfunctional tumor. Such problems could include heart problems, joint pains, increased hair growth, abnormal loss or weight gain, increased blood sugar, etc

Is pituitary tumor survivable?

The rate of survival of pituitary tumors is high compared to other tumors since it is mostly noncancerous and the complication rate of its removal is less than 10%.

Is surgery always necessary?

Surgery is not always the only solution for the removal of the pituitary hormone. Radiation methods and medications could be employed to shrink the tumor and stop its growth.

What are the long term scenarios for patients after they have had treatment?

In most of the cases, they have been recorded many casualties recorded, nearly all return to healthy lives

Can pituitary tumors cause death?

Nonfunctional pituitary tumors may grow big and affect surrounding tissues and nerve, which may result in serious complications such as sudden loss of vision, loss of consciousness, and sometimes even death.