Pituitary Tumors

What a Pituitary Tumor?

When a person is suffering from a Pituitary Tumors, it means that they have a growth on their pituitary gland that is abnormal and is more than likely disruptive to the proper functions and activity of that particular gland. The pituitary gland is located near the brain, just behind the nose and near the optic nerve. This gland is perhaps the most important in the body as it controls other glands. It is also a major part of growth and development.

As such, a pituitary tumor can cause numerous issues and problems. Many pituitary tumors are known as adenomas and are non-cancerous localized tumors that do not spread outside of the area of the pituitary gland. However, some are cancerous. Whether the pituitary tumor is cancerous or not, it will cause disruptions in the normal functions of the pituitary gland.

The cause of pituitary tumors is often unknown. However, they can be linked to hereditary conditions like a condition known as multiple endocrine neoplasia I. Many pituitary tumors do not cause symptoms. Those that do cause health problems can cause issues with other glands as well as other organs throughout the body.

What are the Symptoms of a Pituitary Tumor?

Pituitary symptoms can cause numerous symptoms. Headaches are common with this type of tumor as are vision problems, fatigue, weakness, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms can also include mood change, sexual dysfunction, changes in menstruation, Cushing’s syndrome, and gigantism or acromegaly (due to higher production of growth hormone).

Pituitary Tumor Causes

Pituitary tumors are often associated with tumors in other parts of the body. A tumor in the face or the neck can spread into the brain and cause a pituitary tumor. Genetics certainly plays a major role in the development of pituitary tumors, but it isn’t certain to which extent and the genes involved aren’t particularly well known as of now. There seems to be a correlation between pituitary tumors and certain hereditary disorders. Specifically, adrenal hyperplasia is often comorbid with pituitary tumors.

Environmental factors are less often discussed, but they may play an important role as well. Obviously, the pituitary gland produces numerous hormones in the body. This means that the levels of those hormones introduced into the body can often play a key role in the development of pituitary tumors. Some research indicates that persons with pituitary tumors tend to have higher levels of boron, a trace element essential to brain function.

How is a Pituitary Tumor Treated?

If a pituitary tumor causes symptoms, it likely will require surgery to be treated. This involves the removal of the tumor alone or more likely, the removal of the entire pituitary gland.

Sometimes, radiation therapy is also necessary. Radiation therapy shrinks tumors and prevents tumor growth, and can be used with surgery or sometimes instead of surgery.

Medications may also be able to help with regulating hormone imbalances and if the pituitary gland is removed can replace the missing hormones to keep the endocrine system functioning.

Pituitary Tumor Prevention

Given that this is a condition with many congenital factors involved, prevention of pituitary tumors tends to focus on pregnancy. Preventing the births of children who are likely to develop pituitary tumors is an important part of the process. Generally, the prenatal screening will focus on identifying any potential biomarkers of pituitary tumors. Additionally, the mother’s health is examined to ensure that she isn’t involving something that might bring about pituitary tumors. Certain medications, such as antipsychotics, have the potential to cause pituitary tumors. It is important that women quit these medications as soon as they discover they are pregnant.

Environmental factors, especially when pituitary tumors occur later in life, are absolutely essential to preventing this disorder. Patients who are using hormonal treatments should consider ending their treatment plans in order to avoid stimulating tumor growth. The presence of certain pollutants, such as bisphenol A, must be considered as well.