Tumors, in general, are abnormal growths on and within the human body. The tumors involving the pituitary gland are no different. They are abnormal and they need to be taken seriously. The particular issue with the pituitary gland is that it is the part of the brain that controls the balance of the body’s hormones. It regulates the amount of each.
Pituitary tumors are usually benign with a few exceptions. Benign means that they are not the type of tumor that will spread. They stay localized in the pituitary gland. That does not mean they do not cause health problems. Because of their location near the brain, the compilations can be significant. Most of these tumors are referred to as pituitary adenomas because they are not normally cancerous. The few exceptions are called what you might expect they would be i.e. pituitary carcinomas.
Causes of Pituitary Tumors
Pituitary tumors are not uncommon. Twenty percent of the world’s population probably has a pituitary tumor. However, most of these tumors are not symptomatic and as such are never diagnosed or discovered in the course of normal medical checkups.
What creates these tumors is a bit of a medical mystery. The answer is that the cause and thus the prevention are unknown. The only true studies on these tumors reveals that they seem to be hereditary in nature. If you have a family history of endocrine disorders, it would probably be a good idea to be examined periodically to see if they exist in your pituitary gland.
Possible Symptoms of a Pituitary Disorder
The other important endocrine glands in the body are controlled by the release of hormones from the pituitary gland. Thyroid and adrenal gland functions may be impaired if the pituitary is malfunctioning. The pituitary also releases hormones that directly affect body tissues, such as bones and the breast’s milk glands.
The problems non-cancerous pituitary adenomas include:
• Vision loss or double vision: This is a problem with the size of the tumor. There is not much room for a tumor to grow in its location at the base of the brain. As it gets larger, it puts pressure on the nerves and muscles that pass through the same area. The optic nerve and the muscles that control eye movement are susceptible to damage from an enlarged pituitary tumor.
• Overproduction of hormones: Many pituitary adenomas make too much of a particular hormone, which can cause serious symptoms on issues like weight control (thyroid) or attention deficit disorder (ADHD) from adrenal gland problems.
• Hormone deficiency: These tumors can also destroy functioning pituitary tissue by simple taking over the areas where the gland exists. The tissue displaced dies and the hormones it has created are gone.
The lesson to learn here is to be in tune with your body. Know your family medical history and get screened for possible pituitary problems if the problem exists in the family history.