Pituitary Tumors Overview

An Abnormal Growth in Your Pituitary Gland

Written by Daniel J. Toft MD, PhD

Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that can develop in your pituitary gland, causing excessive production of certain hormones.

Your pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland that's located at the base of your brain.

Although it's small, your pituitary gland is mighty—it's known as the "master gland" because it's responsible for regulating the activities of the other glands in your endocrine system. Your pituitary gland releases hormones that regulate your thyroid, for example.

The pituitary gland produces several hormones. However, the most important hormones it produces that are related to pituitary tumors are:

Fortunately, most pituitary tumors are non-cancerous growths (called adenomas), which means they won't spread to other areas of your brain or surrounding tissues.

Pituitary tumors can be classified into 2 categories:

Both microadenomas and macroadenomas cause overproduction of the hormones mentioned above—what hormones are overproduced depends on where the tumor is located. That's because different hormones are produced in different areas of the pituitary.

The main types of pituitary tumors are:

Pituitary tumors can cause fatigue, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, and, in extreme cases, blindness. But pituitary tumors don't always cause symptoms. It's possible for you to have a pituitary tumor but never get diagnosed.

In this article series, we'll review the common symptomscauses, risk factors, and treatments for pituitary tumors.

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Pituitary Tumor Symptoms