What Is The Pituitary Gland?

The pituitary gland is a small bean-shaped gland that is situated at the base of the brain, behind the nose and between the ears. Despite its small size, the pituitary gland produces many hormones that influence nearly every part of the body. The hormones produced by the pituitary gland help regulate important functions, such as growth, blood pressure, and reproduction. 

What Are Pituitary Tumors?

Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that develop within the pituitary gland. Most pituitary tumors are non-cancerous (benign) growths. These growths remain in the pituitary gland and do not spread to other parts of the body. 

What Symptoms Does Someone With A Pituitary Tumor Have?

Not all pituitary tumors cause symptoms.

Pituitary tumors that make too much hormone(s) can cause a variety of signs and symptoms depending on the hormone they produce.

Some of the symptoms of hormonal excess may include:

  • Irregular or lack of menstrual periods
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Unintended weight gain
  • Changes in facial appearance
  • High blood sugar levels

Some pituitary tumors can cause the pituitary gland to produce less than normal amount of hormone(s).

Symptoms related to hormonal deficiency may include:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Feeling colder than usual
  • Less frequent or no menstrual period
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Unintended weight loss or gain
  • Increased daily amount of urine

There are also some pituitary tumors that do not affect hormonal balance.

The symptoms these tumors cause are related to their growth and the pressure they put on other surrounding structures, including:

  • Headache
  • Visual disturbance