Symptoms of Pituitary Tumor

pituitary tumor

Pituitary Tumor is generally referred as brain tumor. This is due to the location of the pituitary gland. It is located in the skull base, at the back of the nose. The tumor of this gland, which is mostly benign, grows upwards and affects the optic nerve causing problems with the eye sight. The Pituitary gland, which itself is about the shape of a pea; however the tumor can grow as big as three parts out of four of an inch. Once the tumor grows to that size, it will start to put pressure on the rest of the area near it. Thus it starts to show more symptoms of the problem.

In this article we are going to discuss the symptoms of pituitary tumor based on the amount of pituitary hormone the gland is secreting and the proximity of the tumor from the rest of the brain parts.

Loss of vision – This is due to the exerted pressure on the optic nerves. Once the tumor starts to grow, it will exert pressure on the nearby area and thus symptoms like this will start to show. Some of the other symptoms due to this are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue and Weakness
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weight loss or gain without wanting to do so

Symptoms of Pituitary Tumor due to hormone level changes

Pituitary tumor is very different from other tumors. Some pituitary tumors, also known as functional tumor, have the ability to produce hormones. So, you got a gland that is secreting hormones and now there is a tumor added to the gland which is also producing hormones. Such a situation can only result in one thing and that is over production. This will cause various kinds of bio-chemical effects. There are many kinds of such functional tumors and each will show different signs and symptoms.

Now, if your Pituitary tumor is an ACTH tumor, then the hormone that will be produced is adrenocorticotropin. This hormone tells your adrenal gland to produce the hormone cortisol. Too much production of this cortisol hormone results in the Cushing’s syndrome. Here is a small list of symptoms that appears due to the Cushing’s syndrome.

The primary symptom is basically being overweight. The extra weight is prominent around the upper back and the midsection. Stretch marks on the thighs, arms and in the case of women, on the breasts are visible. Among other symptoms, the skin becomes thin and can even bruise easily, muscle weakness, bone loss, etc.

If the functional Pituitary tumor is secreting growth hormone then the symptoms will include bigger feet and hands, rise in blood pressure, heart related problems, over sweating, problems with teeth alignments etc.

Similarly, if the functional tumor is secreting thyroid hormone, then the symptoms of weight loss, irritation or nervousness, etc. will be seen. So based on what the functional tumor is secreting, the symptoms of that particular hormone’s over production will be seen.

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