What are pituitary adenomas and what symptoms do they have?

What are pituitary adenomas and what symptoms do they have?

His name sounds like an Egyptian pharaoh, but his symptoms are very current and are estimated to account for between 9% and 12% of all primary brain tumors.

As we have already explained in this blog, pituitary adenomas are tumors that originate in the cells that make up the pituitary, a very important gland – bean-sized – involved in the actions of other glands in the body, such as the thyroid, adrenal, and gonads (ovaries and testes).

In addition, this pituitary gland, located in the sella turcica, which is a bony depression at the base of the skull, has the main function of generating and producing hormones that regulate growth and metabolism.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pituitary adenomas can be classified according to size into microadenomas (less than 1 cm) and macroadenomas (greater than 1 cm), and depending on whether they secrete hormones themselves or not in functioning (secretors) or non-functioning (non-secretors).

The good news is that, in general, pituitary adenomas are benign (non-cancerous) and slow-growing tumors, which appear from genetic mutations or defects and can be diagnosed thanks to an MRI.

Now, what are some of the symptoms that you should pay attention to in order to go to a specialist due to the probability of having pituitary adenomas?

  • Signs of possible pressure from a pituitary tumor: headache and loss of vision, especially peripheral vision; tiredness and drowsiness.
  • Symptoms and clinical manifestations related to changes in hormonal levels:

For example, in the case of deficiency, there may be nausea and / or vomiting, weakness, irregularities in the frequency of menstrual periods, sexual dysfunction, increased urination, and involuntary weight loss or gain.

And in case of excess functioning, Cushing’s syndrome (when the level of the hormone cortisol is higher than normal) or acromegaly (which has to do with growth hormone damage) may appear. Prolactin-secreting tumors can also occur causing, in the case of women, irregular menstrual periods and milky discharge from the breasts.

On the other hand, when they overproduce thyroid stimulating hormone, that gland produces too much thyroxine hormone and it becomes a rare cause of hyperthyroidism.

Now, it is important to understand that not all pituitary tumors cause symptoms.2

To receive the proper diagnosis and its respective treatment, contact me, I am a specialist in pituitary tumors and I have extensive experience in endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery or transcranial microsurgery, both therapeutic options in case of pituitary adenomas.

Prioritize your health and act on time. I will be happy to support you in this medical process as part of my search for excellence in the treatment of diseases of the cranial base, and to help you regain your quality of life.