Once your doctor tells you about having a pituitary problem, you might begin looking for pituitary tumor symptoms. But you wonder how come your observations are quite different from the articles you read. You have to remember that the symptoms depend on the specific type of problem you have as well as the location of the mass. You do not have to be guessing about what to expect. You can clarify things to your doctor and find ways on how to effectively manage the condition.
Types of Pituitary Problems
The pituitary tumor symptoms are best discussed by presenting first the different types of pituitary problems. The disorder arises from the uncontrollable cellular proliferation in the endocrine gland. The mass of cells form a tumor that is mostly considered benign. Although it is non-cancerous, the tumor puts pressure on the pituitary gland and other nearby structures. The causes of the problem include congenital anomalies, genetic mutation and radiation damage.
Prolactinoma is a type of pituitary tumor that produces high amount of prolactin hormone. This is a very common type of disorder affecting both males and females. Typical examples of pituitary tumor symptoms involving the secretory parts of the gland include infertility in both males and females, loss of interest in sexual activities, vaginal dryness, changes in the menstruation cycle like irregularities in the period or absence of monthly menstruation, painful sexual intercourse and production of milk even when not pregnant or lactating. There are also reported cases of the increased risk to osteoporosis. For men, impotence is one of the most common pituitary tumor symptoms.
Cushing’s disease results from the ACTH producing tumors of the pituitary gland. They affect the adrenal glands because of the increased secretion of the hormone ACTH. This hormone serves as the stimulus for the adrenal glands to release its hormone cortisol. Because of the over stimulation, the patient suffers from different pituitary gland symptoms. The observable signs depend on the specific hormone involved.
If it is the androgen, there will be excessive hair growth. Females suffering from it manifest masculinizing characteristics like the presence of beard and mustache. For other types of hormones, there is obesity, high blood pressure, skin problems, growth retardation especially in children, delayed or too early onset of puberty, mood swings, muscle weakness, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Acromegaly – Pituitary Tumor
Acromegaly is the result when the tumor produces excessive growth hormone in adults. Because the hormone is responsible for the bone growth in length, the disorder leads to the enlargement of the bones of the jaw, hands and legs. The shape and size of the face, hands and legs are not proportional to the rest of the body.
Other classic pituitary tumor symptoms include the coarse changes in the facial features with prominent brow line, spreading of teeth and facial paralysis, muscle and joint pains, oily skin and excessive sweating, and impotence. Patients diagnosed with the problem will have a characteristic change in the physical appearance when compared with their old pictures.
Thyrotropin Secreting Adenomas
Thyrotropin (TSH) is an important hormone that regulates the secretion of the thyroid hormone. It is one of the major hormones released by the pituitary gland. But if the adenoma secretes too high TSH, the thyroid gland is over stimulated causing it to release excessive thyroid hormones. As a result, the hyperactive thyroid gland enlarges and this is visible as a large lump in the cervical region.
The pituitary tumor symptoms include weight loss due to the increased metabolic rate in the body, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, rapid pulse rate, tremor, irritability, difficulty falling asleep, breathlessness, changes in the vision, swelling of the legs and feet, increased sweating, excessive eating, sensitivity to heat and frequency of bowel movements.
Diagnosis Pituitary Tumor
Even when you feel two or more of the pituitary tumor symptoms, it is not proper to make a self-diagnosis. The problem is more serious than what you think. As a master gland, any disorder affects all processes in the body. Thus, it is important that you get the correct diagnosis at once. Usually, your doctor correlates the presence of symptoms and your thorough medical history when making an initial diagnosis.
For confirmation, a series of tests is required. The laboratory procedures include blood tests to determine the level of hormone in the blood. Imaging techniques like CT Scan and MRI are important procedures to visualize the part of the brain involved. They also assess the depth of the tumor and other organs affected. After confirming the diagnosis, he or she may refer you to a specialist for proper treatment and monitoring. An endocrinologist or a neuroendocrinologist is the best person to help you manage the condition.
Treatment Pituitary Tumor
Treatments are available to relieve you from the pituitary tumor symptoms. However, it is important that correct diagnosis must be made to ensure successful medication. To remove the benign tumor, surgery is often required. The procedure is very risky and thus, you should discuss the matter with a highly qualified and trained doctor. If the surgery is successfully performed, you have a good a chance to correct the disorder.
For other pituitary tumor symptoms, you can manage them with the administration of drugs. Your doctor will prescribe them during your visit. Always follow the instructions to avoid complications. Patient education is also crucial in the treatment process. You may need to modify your lifestyle especially your diet to conform to the changes in your endocrine gland function. To get a better view of the dietary changes, ask your doctor about it.