Enlarged pituitary gland
Pituitary adenomas, also known as pituitary tumors, are associated with causing enlarged pituitary glands in many cases. These tumors, depending on their size, are placed in one of two categories. Those measuring less than a centimeter are called microadenomas, and those that are larger than a centimeter are called macroadenomas. They can also be divided into two groups which are based on the tumors’ ability to produce hormones; non-functioning tumors and functioning tumors. Because these tumors do not spread they are considered benign. However, pituitary adenomas can create some issues due to their closeness to the brain, especially the larger macroadenomas. They can end up causing damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the surrounding areas; because as they grow, they put pressure on them.
Another cause of enlargement of the pituitary gland can be a result of internal bleeding, as well as being a reaction to underlying health issues such as tuberculosis or sarcoidosis. Cushing’s syndrome is another disorder that can develop when an excess of adrenocorticotropic hormones (ACTH) are secreted by the pituitary gland. A slight enlargement of the pituitary gland can be linked to thyroid disorder in many cases.
When pituitary adenoma is the cause of swelling in the pituitary gland, it can sometimes disrupt the production of hormones, but not in every case. The symptoms are very noticeable when they do affect the production of hormones. Some of these symptoms include lethargy, headache, vomiting, drooping eyelids, nausea, double vision, and an issue with one’s sense of smell.
Problems with vision are the more common symptom due to the pituitary gland putting pressure on the optic nerve, usually passing above it as it grows. It has been seen to cause a loss of vision in some cases too. However, in most cases the part of the body that is affected will depend on the particular hormone that is being overproduced or underproduced.
Diagnosis and Treatment
It is important to receive treatment for this condition as soon as possible due to the potential hazards of this ailment which can include permanent vision loss. Imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans are used in diagnosing this condition. Also, during the initial process of diagnosis, symptoms mentioned above are taken into consideration. Treating the underlying issue is usually the focus of any treatment process.
One effective treatment for the symptoms linked to pituitary disorders is hormone replacement therapy. When underproduction or overproduction of hormones are the cause of these symptoms, in many cases they can be corrected or cured through restoring and rebalancing the hormones through hormone replacement therapy. In cases where it is a tumor, surgery or radiation therapy may be needed. In some cases the symptoms can be treated with medication. This is usually done when it is an underlying condition such as tuberculosis.
The pituitary gland is obviously one of the components in our body that is important. Problems with the pituitary gland will generally result in adverse effects on a person’s health. While the pituitary adenomas cannot spread out to other areas of the body, they can still affect ones health as they put pressure on surrounding nerves and blood vessels.