Pituitary tumours

Growths in the pituitary gland. Pituitary tumours are rare, and mostly noncancerous, but tumour enlargement can put pressure on the optic nerves, causing visual defects. The causes of pituitary tumours are unknown. They may lead to inadequate hormone production, causing problems such as cessation of menstrual periods or reduced sperm production. They may also cause the gland to produce excess hormone. Overproduction of growth hormone causes gigantism or acromegaly; too much thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) can lead to hyperthyroidism. Investigations include blood tests, X-rays, MRI of the pituitary, and usually also vision tests. Treatment may be by surgical removal of the tumour, radiotherapy, hormone replacement, or a combination of these techniques. The drug bromocriptine may be used; it can reduce production of certain hormones and shrink some tumours.


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