What is Hyperpituitarism?
Hyperpituitarism is a condition that occurs due to hormone production from the pituitary gland (pituitary) is excessive. The hormones produced by the pituitary gland have a number of important role in regulating body functions, such as metabolism, growth, blood pressure, and reproduction.
Symptoms of Hyperpituitarism
Excessive production of pituitary hormones in the body can lead to a variety of conditions. The following are some of the health problems that can occur due to hyperpituitarism and its indications.
Cushing’s syndrome (corticotropinoma), characterized by:
- The appearance of stretch marks is pink or purple on the abdomen.
- Fat accumulation on upper body.
- Excessive amount of facial hair in women.
- Brittle bones that break easily.
Acromegaly. If it occurs in children, acromegaly will cause gigantism. Some indications include height reaching 180 cm and length of hand and foot that far exceed normal. Whereas if it occurs in adults, the symptoms include:
- Changes in face shape, such as the size of the nose and lips that exceed normal.
- The size of hands and feet that exceeds normal.
- Irregular menstruation in women.
- Erectile dysfunction in men.
- The skin turns thick, rough, and oily.
- Increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, heart attacks, and some cancers.
Hyperthyroidism, characterized by:
- Weight loss for no apparent reason.
- Muscles that are weak.
Prolactinoma, characterized by:
- Impaired reproductive function, such as erectile dysfunction in men and sterile in women. Patients will also experience a decrease in sex drive.
- Galactorrhoea, the discharge of milky white fluid from the nipple unrelated to breastfeeding.
- Blindness or vision impairment.
Gigantism (somatotropinoma), characterized by:
- Height that exceeds normal limits.
- Size of head, hands, and feet that exceed normal.
- Face that looks odd, such as lips and nose larger than normal size.
If you feel any discrepancy or symptoms, check yourself or your child to the doctor. Early treatment will reduce the risk of fatal disorders.
Causes and Risk Factors of Hyperpituitarism
Benign tumors are the main cause behind hyperpituitarism. However, the trigger for tumor growth has not been known to date.
The levels of hormones that will be affected depend on which cell type has tumor or malignancy (cancer). Experts also suspect that heredity contributes to triggering this condition.
Diagnosis of Hyperpituitarism
In the first stage, the doctor will ask for symptoms and medical history of the patient. Laboratory tests will then be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.
There are various types of tests that will be undertaken by the patient. Among them include:
- Blood tests to determine hormone levels, as well as eliminate the possibility of other diseases.
- Imaging tests, such as X-rays as well as MRI and CAT scans. Through this test, the size and location of the tumor will be known.
Treatment of Hyperpituitarism
After a definite diagnosis and the patient proved to have hyperpituitarism, the doctor will discuss appropriate treatment methods for the patient. The main steps of handling this condition are generally as follows:
- Surgery to remove tumors that grow in the pituitary gland. This procedure is most effective when the tumor is still small, ie under 1 cm.
- Drugs. This step is done to minimize the size of the tumor before surgery.
- Radiation. Methods are usually recommended for patients who can not undergo surgery or to combat the remnants of cancer that can not be removed. Similarly, when drugs prove to be ineffective in treating hyperpituitarism.
Just like most cancers, diagnosis and treatment of hyperpituitarism should be done as early as possible. This is done to prevent complications while preventing deterioration of the patient’s condition.