Pituitary adenoma

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor


What is pituitary adenoma?

Pituitary adenomas are a type of tumor that occurs in the pituitary gland. Pituitary adenomas are generally divided into three categories dependent upon their biological functioning: benign adenoma, invasive adenoma, and carcinomas. Most adenomas are commonly benign, approximately 35% are invasive and just 0.1% to 0.2 are carcinomas.

How common is pituitary adenoma?

Pituitary adenomas represent from 10% to 25% of all intracranial neoplasms and the estimated prevalence rate in the general population is approximately 17%. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of pituitary adenoma?

Pituitary adenomas may cause some serious problems because of hormonal hypersecretion, pituitary hormonal failure, vision loss, headaches and/or bleeding into the tumor (apoplexy).

Hormonal hypersecretion

The three most common hormonally active adenomas are prolactinomas, GH-secreting tumors causing acromegaly, and ACTH-secreting tumors causing Cushing’s disease.

Pituitary failure (Hypopituitarism)

This problem typically occurs only in larger tumors (macroadenomas) and results from compression and damage to the normal pituitary gland from the enlarging adenoma. Manifestations may include hypogonadism (sexual dysfunction, loss of libido, and impotence), hypothyroidism (fatigue, weakness, weight gain, coarse dry hair and dry skin, cold intolerance, depression), adrenal insufficiency (fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, dizziness, nausea and vomiting), growth failure (in children and adolescents),

Neurological problems

Larger pituitary macroadenomas often cause loss of visual acuity or peripheral vision from pressure on the optic nerves and optic chiasm which is directly above the pituitary gland


Patients with macroadenomas often have frontal, forehead and temporal area headaches

Bleeding (pituitary apoplexy)

This condition develops over hours to several days from hemorrhage and/or infarction of pituitary adenoma. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, visual loss, double vision and confusion.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes pituitary adenoma?

Most pituitary adenomas occur spontaneously, meaning they are not inherited.

There are cases of familial pituitary tumors, which is an inherited tendency to develop pituitary adenomas. However, these cases are uncommon. In many familial cases gigantism or a young onset of acromegaly is more common. Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN 1) is a rare condition characterized by simultaneous tumors of the pituitary, pancreas and parathyroid glands. Pituitary adenomas develop in 25 percent of patients with MEN.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for pituitary adenoma?

There are many risk factors for this condition, such as :

Multiple endocrine neoplasia

Adenomas of the anterior pituitary gland are a major clinical feature of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), a rare inherited endocrine syndrome that affects 1 person in every 30,000

Carney complex

Carney complex (CNC), also known as LAMB syndrome and NAME syndrome is an autosomal dominant condition comprising myxomas of the heart and skin, hyperpigmentation of the skin (lentiginosis), and endocrine overactivity and is distinct from Carney’s triad. Approximately 7% of all cardiac myxomas are associated with Carney complex. Patients with CNC develop growth hormone (GH)-producing pituitary tumors and in some instances these same tumors also secrete prolactin.

Familial isolated pituitary adenoma

Familial isolated pituitary adenoma (FIPA) is a term that used to identify a condition that displays an autosomal dominant inheritance and is characterized by the presence of two or more related patients affected by adenomas of the pituitary gland only, with no other associated symptoms that occur in Multiple endocrine neoplasia Type 1 or Carney complex.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is pituitary adenoma diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed and some tests will be also recommended by your doctor. Some recommended tests may include:

Pituitary Function Testing

Pituitary hormone function testing is necessary for every patient with a pituitary tumor. This involves a blood sample Hormone testing can detect or confirm a functional adenoma, as well as determine if there is evidence of pituitary insufficiency.

Imaging Scans

One method we use to detect pituitary adenomas is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. An MRI can reliably detect adenomas larger than four millimeters. We use a special pituitary protocol to help obtain an accurate image.

How is pituitary adenoma treated?

Depending on some several following factors, your treatment options will be determined by your doctors, including:

Hormone production by the tumor (if present)

Tumor size

The extent that the tumor invaded surrounding structures

Your age and general health

Ideally, more than one specialist is involved in managing the treatment of pituitary adenomas. Some treatment options may be ordered by your doctors, include:

Medical Management of Pituitary Adenomas

If you have a hormone-producing pituitary adenoma, it can sometimes be treated medically. An endocrinologist who specializes in hormone-producing tumors, may be necessary in managing your care


If the pituitary adenomas require surgery, typically the best procedure is through a nasal approach.

Radiation Therapy

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage pituitary adenoma?

Doing exercise regularly and having a proper diet is always a good way to prevent diseases.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: August 25, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019