The pituitary gland is a small, pea-sized attached to the base of the brain. It controls growth, functioning and development of other hormonal glands. Deficit of one or more pituitary hormones is a state of Hypopituitarism. This clinical term is used by endocrinologists to mean that one or more pituitary glands are deficient. In hypopituitarism, the pituitary gland does not produce the normal amounts of hormones.
Hypopituitarism has the following causes—
Sarcoidosis (A lung disorder)
Tumours in the pituitary gland
Tumours in hypothalamus (Controls the production of hormones)
Histiocytosis X (A rare autoimmune disease where the immune cells damage the organs)
Sheehan syndrome (Excessive blood loss during childbirth)
Lymphocytic hypophysitis (An inflammation in the pituitary gland)
Radiation treatments like chemotherapy
Symptoms depend on which hormones is not being produced.
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACH): Lack of ACH affects the adrenal glands (endocrine glands producing hormones) and cortisol (steroid hormone). Symptoms include—
Low sodium levels
Loss of weight
Thyroid-stimulating Hormone (TSH): Deficient TSH mostly affects the thyroid (produces growth-regulating hormones) gland. The symptoms are—
Sensitivity to cold
Luteinizing hormone (LH): Low luteinizing hormone in women affects their ovaries and ovulation. Symptoms include-
In men, lack of LH affects their testes and sperm production. Symptoms include-
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): This hormone affects men and women the same way the luteinizing hormone does. Thus the symptoms are the same.
Growth Hormone: In children, the growth hormone affects their bone, fat and muscle. They have the following symptoms—
Lack of height
Increase in body fat
Abnormal peak bone mass (bone tissue present after the skeleton matures)
In adults, the whole body is affected. Body fat increases while muscle and bone mass decreases.
Prolactin: Prolactin deficiency only affects women. The prolactin hormone gets the production of milk started after childbirth. Lack of prolactin thus affects breastfeeding.
Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH): The kidneys are affected by lack of ADH. Symptoms include—
Feeling excess thirst