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What is Hypopituitarism? Print E-mail
Written by Phillip LaVeque   
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
The pituitary gland is located inside the skull. When this gland becomes less active than normal for any reason, hypopituitarism is said to occur.
What is going on in the body?

The pituitary gland is sometimes called the master gland of the body. It secretes many important hormones that have different effects on other glands in the body. When the pituitary gland is not working correctly, many things can go wrong in the body.

The danger of hypopituitarism is that levels of other key hormones may become too low. When thyroid hormone and adrenal hormone are extremely low, death may occur. The underlying cause of this condition, such as a tumor, may also have risks.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?

This condition has several causes, including:
# tumors of the pituitary gland
# surgical removal of the pituitary gland
# abnormal inflammation of the pituitary gland, such as from an infection
# a complication of childbirth
# radiation to the head
# head injury What are the treatments for the condition?

If possible, the underlying cause is treated. This may involve medications or surgery. Hormone replacement pills or injections are often required to boost low levels of certain hormones in the body.
What are the side effects of the treatments?

All medications have side effects, including allergic reactions and stomach upset. Hormone medications may cause the hormone level to get too high, which can be toxic to the body. Other side effects vary, depending on the medications used. When surgery is done, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.
What happens after treatment for the condition?

If the cause is successfully treated and the pituitary gland recovers, a person may not need further treatment. In most cases, though, this is not possible. Treatment with hormone replacement pills or injections are often needed for life.
How is the condition monitored?

The healthcare provider will monitor the functioning of the pituitary gland with periodic examinations and blood tests. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.


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