Pituitary Disorders Questions and Answers
Do you have a pituitary disorder or think you may have one? Or do you know someone with a disorder? You might have some questions about pituitary disorders, and we’d like to answer them, so we’ve put together a Q and A on these disorders and how we address them here at Arkansas Diabetes and Endocrinology Center. Read on to learn much of what we know! For more information, call us or schedule an appointment online. We serve patients from Little Rock AR, Conway AR, North Little Rock AR, Pine Bluff AR, Hot Springs AR, Benton AR, Sherwood AR, Russellville AR, Jacksonville AR, Cabot AR, Searcy AR, Bryant AR, Jonesboro AR, Forrest City AR, Magnolia AR, Camden AR, Malvern AR, Batesville AR, Arkadelphia AR, Clarksville AR, Monticello AR, Heber Springs AR, Morrilton AR, Stuttgart AR, Greenbrier AR, Sheridan AR, and Vilonia AR.
The pituitary gland plays an important role in the endocrine system, regulating the function of other glands and several other bodily functions. Due to its influence over other glands, it is commonly called the ‘master gland.’ Disorders of the pituitary gland come with a wide range of symptoms, including vision problems, reduced libido and increased perspiration.
What is the pituitary gland?
The pituitary gland is a gland of the endocrine system located near the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. Known as the “master gland,” it secretes hormones that regulate the functions of other glands, as well as growth and several body functions.
Why is the pituitary gland important?
The pituitary gland is a vital gland that is essential to the proper function of several other glands, including the thyroid. If the pituitary gland is not functioning properly, it can produce a wide range of conditions and symptoms and can be due to either overactivity or underactivity of the pituitary gland. The known conditions that an abnormally functioning pituitary gland can cause include problems with sexual development, abnormal thyroid function, irregular growth, skin pigmentation issues and improper adrenocortical function. Pituitary tumors do not have an obvious cause. However, scientists believe some cases of pituitary tumors might be caused by overstimulation from the hypothalamus, which signals the pituitary gland to make hormones.
What are the most common pituitary disorders?
There are many different disorders that affect the pituitary gland, including the following:
Acromegaly — Occurring when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormones, acromegaly most commonly affects middle-aged adults. Symptoms can vary greatly, but typically include swelling of hands and feet, coarsening of facial features and body hair, increasing perspiration and body order. In women, it can cause irregular menstrual cycles and breast milk production. In men, it can cause impotence. The vast majority (more than 95 percent) of acromegaly cases are caused by benign tumors on the pituitary gland.
Diabetes Insipidus — Unrelated to its more common counterpart, diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus results from insufficient production of ADH, a hormone that helps the body regulate proper water levels. Although it is not related to diabetes mellitus, they do share some similar symptoms, including excessive thirst, excessive urine production and dehydration.
Empty Sella Syndrome — This pituitary disorder is characterized by an enlarged bony structure that ensconces the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Although there may be none present, additional symptoms can include impotence, reduced sexual desire and irregular menstruation.
Hypopituitarism — Also called an underactive pituitary gland, hypopituitarism affects the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. This often results in a partial or complete loss of functioning of that lobe.
Tumors — Although the majority of pituitary tumors are benign, because of the location of the pituitary gland, they can put pressure on the optic nerves, causing vision problems. In addition, pituitary tumors that produce excess amounts of hormones can over stimulate other endocrine glands and cause symptoms specific to the overproduced hormone, which can range from growth and development issues to improper function of sexual organs.
If you or someone you love is exhibiting symptoms of a pituitary disorder, come to Arkansas Diabetes and Endocrinology Center for a professional medical evaluation. Our team of compassionate professionals are dedicated to providing the highest level of care to all of our patients. Trust the healthcare specialists at Arkansas Diabetes and Endocrinology Center to provide you with better health, and therefore a better quality of life. We look forward to serving you!