Research says 20 % of people tend to develop tumors of the pituitary, and by and large, they are benign. Some do not develop any clinical features, and the disorder may go unnoticed. On the other hand, some develop symptoms which largely depend on the location of the tumor, and its size.
Pituitary Tumor Symptoms
- If the tumor is large, (a macroadenoma) it exerts pressure on the surrounding structures, resulting in nausea, vomiting, giddiness, fatigue, headaches, loss of vision, constipation, sexual dysfunction, etc.
- A prolactinoma results in elevated levels of the prolactin hormone. Manifestations in females include: irregular menses, infertility, pain during intercourse, dryness of the vagina, and milky secretion from the breasts. Manifestations in men include: impotence, enlargement of breasts, erectile dysfunction, reduced body hair, and decreased libido.
- Hyperthyroidism is another presenting feature. The symptoms occur due to thyroid hormone synthesizing tumors. Weight loss, hair fall, rapid heart rate, rapid pulse, tremors, fatigue, irritability and irregular menses are common symptoms.
- ACTH synthesizing tumors cause: weight gain and truncal obesity, skin lesions, diabetes, excessive hair growth, osteoporosis, and irritability.
- Growth hormone synthesizing tumors cause sleep apnea, impotence, etc. In children, muscles and bones cease to grow and develop, and features of acromegaly develop.
Pituitary Tumor Treatment
- Once the diagnosis is made, the physician decides on the appropriate line of treatment.
- Generally, surgical excision of the tumor is carried out. Occasionally, radiation therapy is done. Doctors may also prescribe drugs to handle the symptoms well. Whilst, sometimes watchful waiting is recommended, early diagnosis and management are most ideal.