Pituitary tumor refers to an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland, which is one of the most important endocrine glands of the human body. Presence of pituitary tumors in the body may be symptomized by abnormal hormonal secretions resulting in certain overtly observable conditions in the human body.
Many of the pituitary tumors are non-malignant and do not show any activity during the lifetime of a human being. The cause of a pituitary tumor, at times, can be attributed to a hereditary abnormality called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia 1 (MEN 1), though in majority of the cases the causal factors are unknown.
Symptoms of Pituitary Tumors
A pituitary tumor may cause Hyperthyroidism (excessive production of thyroid), Cretinism( stunted growth), Gigantism( also known as Acromegaly, this condition is symptomized by abnormal growth in body size), and abnormal discharge from the nipples. Big pituitary tumors may cause laziness, headache, nasal discharge, nausea and puking, smelling disorders, and visual disorders. These symptoms hardly occur, but when they do, they do so severely.
Treatment of Pituitary Tumors
Treatment of Pituitary Tumors starts with diagnosing the condition first, for which the person suspected of having a pituitary tumor is asked to take certain physical tests, which will test the functionality of his or her senses, such as vision and smell. Tests for checking the levels of hormones like Cortisol, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Lutenizing Hormone, Insulin Growth Factor 1, Serum Prolactin, Testosterone, Estradiol, T4 and TSH, in the human body, are done.
Confirmation Of Presence Of Pituitary Tumors Leads To The Following Treatments
This is done to reduce the size of the pituitary tumor by exposing the patient to medically controlled radiation. This therapy is done in combination with surgery, or without surgery, on people who cannot undergo surgery.
This is done to remove large pituitary tumors which may be pressing on important blood cells and nerves of the brain, such as the optic nerve, and adversely affecting their functioning. Commonly, the pituitary tumors are surgically removed through outlets, such as the nasal passage. Some are removed from the sinus. However, some others are too large and require removal through the skull by performing transcranial surgery.
Drugs are also administered for treating pituitary tumors. Drugs therapy aims to shrink the size of the pituitary tumors for which this kind of treatment is a suitable option. Cabergoline, also popular as Bromocriptine, reduces the size of the tumor by decreasing Pprolactin levels in the human body.
Pegvisomant, also known as Octreotide, is another drug which acts on tumors secreting growth hormon. Pegvisomant is used in cases where surgery is predicted to be ineffective in curing the pituitary tumor.
Side Effects of Pituitary Tumor Treatment
Pituitary tumor treatment may result in hormonal imbalances and may require replacement of certain hormones for normal functioning of the body. Pituitary tumors are, generally non-cancerous in nature, and therefore, there is no risk of the tumor proliferating to other parts of the human body.
However, they may grow in size, and as they grow, they may press upon the surrounding vital blood vessels and nerves, thus damaging them. One typical example of such damage is the damage of the optic nerve leading to blindness.