JONGOH KIM, MD Endocrinologist located in Houston, Tx
LIBU VARUGHESE, MD Endocrinologist located in Houston, Tx

Your pituitary gland is the master gland that regulates all of your hormones in your body. This also means that the symptoms and treatment options are highly complex. Pituitary disorders are better managed by an endocrine experts like Jongoh Kim, MD and Libu Varughese, MD  at Endocrine Diabetes Plus Clinic in Houston, Texas. Treatment are tailored to your needs after performing the right diagnostic tests, and determining the true cause of your symptoms. Please call the offices in Houston, Texas or Memorial City, Texas to schedule a prompt appointment or use the online booking feature. 

Prolactinoma

Pituitary Disorder Q & A

What hormones are produced by the pituitary gland?

The pituitary gland is a small endocrine gland nestled in the bony hollow behind the bridge of your nose. This gland is attached to your brain by a stalk that contains essential nerves and blood vessels. The pituitary glands secrete the following hormones:

  • Growth hormone
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  • Prolactin
  • Oxytocin

In addition to producing growth hormones, these pituitary hormones regulate your adrenal gland, thyroid gland, and the male and female reproductive systems.

Is a pituitary tumor a brain tumor?

The pituitary gland is NOT a brain tumor as it not in the brain. The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain and connected to it by a think stalk. However, it is located inside the skull bones. 

What are the most common pituitary disorders?

A benign pituitary gland tumor is the most common cause of pituitary disorders. There are two general types of pituitary tumors:

Nonfunctional pituitary tumors

When a tumor is small and nonfunctional, it usually doesn’t cause problems. However, nonfunctional tumors can grow large enough to cause headaches, vision problems, and pituitary insufficiency, which is a drop in the production of one or more hormones.

Functional pituitary tumors

Functional tumors actively produce hormones, causing high hormone levels. The three most common problems caused by functional tumors include:

  • Acromegaly, due to excessive growth hormone
  • Cushing syndrome, due to excessive cortisol
  • Prolactinomas, due to excessive prolactin

Acromegaly causes gigantism when it occurs in children, but it also affects middle-aged adults who may develop enlarged hands and feet, headaches, irregular periods, impotence, and vision loss.

What is hypopituitarism?

Hypopituitarism occurs when the pituitary gland doesn’t produce the right amount of one or more hormones. You could have low levels of any of the pituitary hormones, leading to a wide range of health problems and symptoms.

Here are two examples of hypopituitary problems:

  1. A deficiency in growth hormone leads to loss of muscle and bone mass in adults.
  2. If the pituitary doesn’t produce enough thyroid-stimulating hormone, you can develop an underactive thyroid, which affects virtually every system in your body. Fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, and muscle weakness are a few symptoms of an underactive thyroid.

How are pituitary disorders treated?

Your treatment is determined by the underlying problem and whether you have excessive or deficient hormone levels. In most cases, treatments come down to one of three major options: hormone replacement therapy, surgery to remove a tumor, or radiation therapy to shrink a tumor.

If you have generic symptoms or you just don’t feel right and you don’t know why,  you’ll find answers with a thorough evaluation at Endocrine Diabetes Plus Clinic of Houston. Call the office or book an appointment online.