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Pituitary Tumors/Adenomas

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Pituitary tumors in children develop in the pituitary glands, resulting in abnormal growths and an excessive production of hormones that regulate essential body functions. Other pituitary tumors can restrict function, resulting in lower production of hormones. In most cases, pituitary tumors are treated with surgery, radiation therapy and medication. To learn more about treatment options for brain tumors affecting pituitary function, please call our pediatric endocrinology practice at 407.896.2901 or request an appointment on our website.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of pituitary tumors may include the following:

  • Body hair loss
  • Headache
  • Increased frequency and amount of urination
  • Less frequent or no menstrual periods
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Symptoms of pituitary hormone deficiency
  • Unintended weight loss or gain
  • Vision loss, particularly loss of peripheral vision
  • Weakness

Causes

As with all types of tumors, it is still unclear as to why they develop.  The pituitary gland is a small bean-shaped organ that sits at the base of the brain. It affects nearly every part of the body and its hormones help regulate important functions such as growth, blood pressure and reproduction. In a small number of instances, pituitary tumors are hereditary, but most are thought to be the result of genetic alterations.

Treatments

Pituitary tumors are typically treated with one or a combination of the following; surgery, radiation therapy and medication.

  • Surgery: Surgery may be required if the tumor is putting pressure on the optic nerves, which may result in a loss of vision, or if the tumor is overproducing certain hormones.
  • Radiation Therapy: During radiation therapy, high-energy X-rays literally destroy the tumor and the affected tissue. It may be used after surgery or alone as a primary treatment if surgery is not an option. Types of radiation therapy may include Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery or external beam radiation.
  • Medication: Treatment with medications may be useful in blocking excess hormone secretions and in some cases, shrinking certain kinds of pituitary tumors.

Does My Child Have a Pituitary Tumor?

If you think your child may have a pituitary tumor or to learn more about treatment options, please call Florida Center for Pediatric Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at 407.896.2901 or request an appointment on our website.