Pituitary tumours

WHAT ARE PITUITARY TUMOURS?

Pituitary tumours (pituitary adenomas) are tumours that form in the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, behind the bridge of the nose.

Pituitary microadenomas are small tumours which usually cause symptoms due to excessive hormone release. Pituitary macroadenomas are larger (greater than 1cm), and can cause symptoms due to pressure from their size, or from hormone release.

Symptoms

Pituitary tumours (adenomas) may present the following symptoms:

  • Visual problems (such as double vision)
  • Hormonal disturbances:
    • weight loss or gain
    • hair loss or gain
    • lethargy
    • menstrual irregularities
    • milk secretion from the breasts
    • poor libido
    • infertility
    • headaches

Treatment

As many pituitary tumours are benign, they can often be treated without surgery. Recurrent tumours may be treated with surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery.