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Pituitary Education

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The Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland is a small, pea-sized organ in the brain that makes various hormones to keep our bodies functioning properly.

Pituitary Tumors

A tumor in the pituitary is an abnormal growth of cells.  Most of the time, these tumors are benign (not cancerous).  Some of the tumors can produce too much of a particular pituitary hormone (functional pituitary tumors).  Other tumors do not produce any hormones, but can grow too big, and press on the remaining pituitary gland.  This can decrease the amount of pituitary hormones made by the gland and cause visual disturbances.

Most pituitary tumors are benign and small, causing no symptoms.  They can be detected incidentally on brain imaging done for unrelated reasons.  If the tumors are large, they can present with headaches or visual changes.  They can also present with symptoms off too much or too little hormone production.

The diagnosis of a pituitary tumor is established through imaging and blood work.

Depending on the type of tumor, the treatment is different.  Most can be monitored with periodic MRIs and blood work.  Those that interfere with hormone production will need medical treatment.  Some tumors will need to be surgically removed by a neurosurgeon. 

At Carolina Endocrine Associates, we will perform a comprehensive diagnostic workup for each patient presenting with pituitary dysfunction as well as a detailed treatment plan.  We will provide 100% of the medical care related to the disease at the time of diagnosis and throughout the follow up period, which is typically life long.