A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland. This is the part of the brain that regulates the body's balance of many hormones.
Tumor - pituitary; Pituitary adenoma
Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous (benign). Up to 20% of people have pituitary tumors. Many of these tumors do not cause symptoms and are never diagnosed during the person's lifetime.
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized endocrine gland located at the base of the brain. The pituitary helps control the release of hormones from other endocrine glands, such as the thyroid, sex glands, and adrenal glands. The pituitary also releases hormones that directly affect body tissues, such as bones and the breast milk glands. The pituitary hormones include:
Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
Growth hormone (GH)
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
As a pituitary tumor grows, the normal hormone-releasing cells of the pituitary may be damaged. This results in the pituitary gland not producing enough of its hormones. This condition is called hypopituitarism.
Your health care provider will perform a physical examination. The provider will note any problems with double vision and visual field, such as a loss of side (peripheral) vision or the ability to see in certain areas.
Tests to check endocrine function may be ordered, including:
Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.