The pituitary gland is a kidney bean-shaped gland located at the base of the brain. Responsible for the synthesis and release of eight different hormones. Each of these hormones has distinct functions, from stimulating bone growth, to stimulating the thyroid gland, to releasing hormones that control metabolism. Inability to release some or all is known as hypopituitarism.
This blog takes a deep dive into hypopituitarism, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.
What is hypopituitarism?
The pituitary gland is attached to the hypothalamus via a stalk of blood vessels and nerves called the pituitary stalk. Through the stem, the hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland to release certain hormones. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls various bodily functions. blood pressureheart rate, body temperature, digestion.
When the pituitary fails to release one or more hormones, it is known as hypopituitarism. This is a rare condition caused by numerous disorders and damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. The symptoms of hypopituitarism depend on the missing hormone.
People with hypopituitarism may have to take medication for the rest of their lives. These drugs help make up for the missing hormones.
What kind of hormones does the pituitary gland produce?
The pituitary gland produces and secretes eight hormones. They are:
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH or corticotropin): The ACTH hormone signals the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone. This cortisol helps maintain blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Antidiuretic hormone (ADH or vasopressin): Helps control water balance and sodium levels in the body.
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): It is responsible for stimulating sperm production in men. It also produces estrogen in the ovaries and promotes the development of female eggs.
- Growth hormone (GH): In children, growth hormone promotes growth, but in adults, the hormone helps maintain muscle and bone and influences fat distribution. AIDS in metabolism.
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH): LH ensures ovulation in women and stimulation of testosterone in men.
- Oxytocin: This hormone helps women in labor progress during childbirth, breast milk Let it flow. It also plays a role in fostering the bond between parent and child.
- Prolactin: This affects the stimulation of breast milk production after childbirth in women.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) signals the thyroid gland to make hormones to manage metabolism and energy.
What types of hypopituitarism are there?
There are three types of hypopituitarism based on the number of hormones that are missing. They are:
- Isolated pituitary deficiency: When one of the pituitary hormones is not synthesized as expected, it is known as isolated pituitary deficiency.
- Multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies: When two or more pituitary hormones are not produced, it is known as polypituitary hormone deficiency.
- Panhypophysis: As the name suggests, not all pituitary hormones are secreted.
In addition to the above, the three types of hypopituitarism are based on causes and affected hormones. They are:
- Primary hypopituitarism is due to damage or failure of the pituitary gland.
- Secondary hypopituitarism: Impairment or damage to the hypothalamus causes secondary hypopituitarism.
- Idiopathic hypopituitarism: In this case, the cause is unknown.
What are the symptoms of hypopituitarism?
Some people develop symptoms, while others are asymptomatic until a gradual onset. In some cases, symptoms can develop suddenly and dramatically. However, symptoms vary depending on the cause, the hormones involved, and the severity of symptoms. Below are the symptoms of each hormone that is deficient.
- ACTH deficiency: Symptoms may include fatigue, low blood pressure, unexplained weight loss, weakness, depression, nausea, or vomitingNewborn signs are stunted growth, hypoglycemia, seizures, and yellow skin.
- TSH deficiency: constipationweight gain, coldness, lack of energy, muscle weakness and pain are symptoms of TSH deficiency. Signs in newborns are low muscle tone, low body temperature, hoarseness, and abdominal distension.
- FSH and LH deficiency: Women suffer from menstrual irregularity, menstrual stoppage and infertility. In men, symptoms include: hair loss Body and face, weakness, lack of sexual interest, erectile dysfunction, infertility.
- GH deficiency: Short stature, fat around the waist and face, poor overall growth, and delayed sexual development during puberty are prominent symptoms in children. reduced tolerance, weight gain, muscle mass loss, depression, and anxietyA small penis in infants is also a symptom of GH deficiency.
- prolactin deficiency: A woman experiences an inadequate or reduced milk supply. The man has no symptoms.
- ADH deficiency: Increased thirst and urination are two symptoms of ADH deficiency. In newborns, symptoms are vomiting, episodes of unknown origin. heat, excessive crying, constipation, weight loss, and frequent wet diapers. Your child will have difficulty potty training, lose control over urination, and tire easily.
- oxytocin hormone deficiency: When oxytocin is reduced, it becomes difficult for mothers to breastfeed because the amount of milk does not decrease. again, symptoms of depression.
What Causes Hypopituitarism?
There are many reasons for hypopituitarism. Most often, it is caused by a pituitary tumor. As the tumor grows, it compresses and damages pituitary tissue, affecting hormone production. In some cases, the tumor also affects the optic nerve, causing vision problems.
Other causes are:
- head injury
- brain surgery
- Radiation therapy to the head and neck
- strokecerebral hemorrhage or pituitary disorder
- certain drugs, such as narcotics, high-dose corticosteroids, or certain anticancer drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors
- Inflammation of the pituitary gland
- Brain infections, such as meningitis and infections that spread to the brain tuberculosis Or syphilis.
- Disorders that affect multiple organs include sarcoidosis, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, and hemochromatosis.
- Severe blood loss during childbirth can cause pituitary damage
Genetics may also be the cause. In such cases, hypopituitarism develops at birth or in early childhood. There are cases of hypopituitarism that have no underlying cause.
When to Seek Medical Assistance?
People with significant symptoms of hypopituitarism and sudden onset of severe headache, blurred vision, confusion, or a drop in blood pressure need immediate medical help.
Call 1860-500-1066 to make an appointment
What are the risk factors for developing hypopituitarism?
The following conditions are risk factors for hypopituitarism:
- a history of cancer and radiotherapy: Certain cancer treatments, such as radiation, can damage the pituitary gland
- Brain or head injury: nearly 27% of people traumatic brain injury Hypopituitarism may develop after 5 months to 1 year.
- sickle cell anemia
- type 1 diabetes: Nerve and blood vessel damage occurs when people fail to manage type 1 diabetes. It also contributes to hypopituitarism.
- Genetics: Certain genetic mutations can cause hypopituitarism.
- Pregnancy and Childbirth: Pregnant women can develop a rare condition known as lymphocytic hypophysitis, which can lead to hypopituitarism. , which can lead to damage to the pituitary gland. known as Sheehan syndrome.
How is hypopituitarism diagnosed?
If a health care provider suspects hypopituitarism, they may prescribe one or all tests to accurately diagnose the condition. Here is the test:
- Blood tests to measure hormone levels
- A stimulus test or dynamic test is another test that measures a patient’s hormone levels. The test is performed under the supervision of an endocrinologist. In this test, doctors check hormone levels after people take certain drugs that stimulate hormone production.
- Brain imaging: MRI A CT scan of the brain detects pituitary tumors or other gland-related problems.
- Vision test: Detects growth of a pituitary tumor that presses on the optic nerve, impairing vision or vision.
What are my options for treating hypopituitarism?
An endocrinologist can manage this condition. Because the disease affects different hormones, there is no fixed treatment plan. The goal, therefore, is to maintain hormone levels without compromising patient health.
Treatment plans may include hormone replacement therapy, surgery to remove the tumor, and possibly radiation therapy. Doctors constantly monitor how treatment is working and adjust medications as needed.
Hypopituitarism is a rare condition. However, if left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems and even death. Patients with hypopituitarism have a favorable prognosis with medical intervention. Therefore, with proper treatment, affected people can continue to lead healthy lives.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is there a cure for hypopituitarism?
No, There is no cure for hypopituitarism. However, there are some treatment options.
Can hypopituitarism be prevented?
Hypopituitarism cannot be prevented.
Can hypopituitarism lead to death?
Failure to properly treat the sudden, severe onset of hypopituitarism can lead to medical emergencies, which can be fatal. Therefore, if a person notices symptoms, immediately consult a doctor.
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