What is Hypopituitarism?
What is Hypopituitarism? Hypopituitarism is a condition in which the pituitary gland (pituitary) is unable to produce one or more hormones. Hipopituitarism also occurs when the pituitary gland is unable to release enough hormones, causing the sufferer to suffer from hormone deficiency. The pituitary gland is a pea-sized small gland located at the base of the human brain, precisely behind the nose, between the eyes. Although small, this gland produces hormones that affect almost part of the human body.
The pituitary gland is assigned to send signals to other hormone-producing glands. The hormone produced by the pituitary gland plays a major role in performing body functions, such as for growth, blood pressure, metabolism, and also reproduction. If one of the hormones does not work properly, body function will be disrupted.
Some of the hormones produced in the pituitary gland include:
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), triggers the adrenal glands to release a hormone called cortisol, which regulates metabolism and blood pressure in the body.
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), stimulates the production of thyroid hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism and plays an important role in the process of growth and development.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), helps the growth of ovarian follicles in women and sperm production in men. Also known as gonadotropins or sex hormones.
- Growth hormone (GH), stimulates the growth of bone and tissue.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH), controls sexual function in men and women.
- Antidiuretic hormone (ADH), controls blood pressure and discharge of body fluids through the kidneys.
- Prolactin, stimulates milk production (breast milk) and breast growth.
The cause of hypopituitarism
Loss of function of the pituitary gland causes the production of hormones to be low, can not even produce hormones at all. This condition can be caused by several things, such as tumors, brain surgery, radiation (infection to treat cancer or tumors), infections (eg meningitis), or other unknown causes.
In most cases, tumors in the pituitary gland are the main causes of hypopituitarism. When the tumor in the pituitary gland grows, the pituitary tissue becomes depressed and damaged, resulting in hormone production being disrupted. Tumors can also suppress the optic nerve, causing visual impairment.
In addition to some of the above, there are other factors that can trigger the occurrence of hypopituitarism, among them are:
- Head injury,
- Genetic mutation
- Loss of blood during labor (Sheehan syndrome)
- Infiltrative diseases, such as sarcoidosis (lung disorders), histiocytosis X (immune cells invading body tissue), and hemochromatosis (accumulation of iron in the body).
Symptoms of hypopituitarism
Hipopituitarism sometimes comes suddenly without preceding the emergence of the onset of symptoms. In some cases, however, some are gradually emerging. The symptoms of this disease vary, depending on what the cause, what hormones are affected, and how severe the disorders that occur in the hormone. Here are some symptoms of hypopituarism based on disturbed hormones:
- Lack of ACTH hormone. Symptoms include fatigue, low blood pressure, decreased body weight, depression, nausea, and vomiting.
- GH hormone deficiency. When it occurs in children, symptoms include difficulty getting high, fat accumulation around the waist and face, and overall growth disorders. While in adults, symptoms that can arise include the body is not powered, strength and endurance decreased body weight, increased muscle mass, and depression.
- Lack of hormone TSH. Symptoms include difficult bowel movements (constipation), not resistant to cold temperatures, weight gain, and muscle weakened and sometimes pain.
- Lack of hormones FSH and LH. In women, this hormone deficiency can result in periods coming in irregular months as well as infertility. While in men, the symptoms caused include loss of hair on the face or in other body parts, decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and barren.
- Prolactin hormone deficiency. This disorder usually appears in women, with symptoms such as very little milk production, easy fatigue, and not the growth of hair in the armpits and genitals. In men, this hormone deficiency will not cause any symptoms.
- Lack of ADH hormone. Symptoms that can occur include frequent thirst and frequency of urination becomes increased.
Diagnosis of hypopituitarism
Before giving treatment to patients hypopituitarisme, doctors will perform blood tests to check the hormone levels produced by the pituitary gland. The doctor may give special treatment before the blood test to stimulate the patient’s body to produce one of the hormones. This special treatment will help the doctor in knowing the condition and function of the pituitary gland in the patient.
When your doctor has known which hormone is problematic, your doctor will examine the body part of the patient affected by the hormone to make sure the problem occurs. The examination should be done because in some cases the main problem is not happening to hormones, but instead on the organs of the body that is directly related to the hormone that is suspected to be problematic.
In addition to the tests mentioned above, the doctor may advise the patient to perform an MRI test, a CT scan, and a vision test. A series of tests that can help the doctor to ascertain whether the problems that occur in the function of the pituitary gland is caused by a tumor.
Treatment of hypopituitarism
There are several types of treatments to treat cases of hypopituitarism. First, by taking drugs prescribed by a doctor. These drugs serve as a substitute for hormones that can not be produced properly by the pituitary gland. The dose is adjusted to the needs of the patient’s body.
Secondly, the doctor may perform surgery or give radiotherapy to his patient if the disorder of the pituitary gland is caused by a tumor. Overall, this treatment is done to restore the function and level of hormone pituitary to normal conditions, so there is no longer a problem of hormone deficiency.
Treatment of hypopituarism is often a lifelong treatment. However, with proper drug consumption as recommended by your doctor, the symptoms will be well controlled and the patient can live normally.