Panhypopituitarism

The pituitary gland is found at the base of the brain. It produces several important hormones that control the production of other hormones made by glands in the body. In panhypopituitarism, the gland produces an insufficient amount of hormones.

  • Causes

    This condition is most often caused by damage to the gland. In adults, it is usually a result of pituitary surgery.
    In children, damage to the pituitary gland may be caused by:

    • Infection
    • Stroke
    • Genetic factors
    • Tumor
      on or near the pituitary gland
    • Cancer that has spread
    • Injury
    • No known cause

  • Definition

    The pituitary gland is found at the base of the brain. It produces several important hormones that control the production of other hormones made by glands in the body. In panhypopituitarism, the gland produces an insufficient amount of hormones.

    Pituitary Gland
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Tests may include the following:

    • MRI scan
      —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
    • Blood tests—Blood tests—to measure pituitary, as well as target gland hormone levels
    • Stimulation tests—to test the maximum capacity of the endocrine glands, usually of the pituitary gland
    • Semen analysis—in males suspected of infertility

  • Prevention

    The majority of causes are not preventable. Injury prevention can prevent some cases.

  • Risk Factors

    These risk factors increase your chance of developing panhypopituitarism. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:


    • Damage to the pituitary gland (eg,
      trauma,
      radiation, cancer spread,
      postpartum hemorrhage
      )
    • Tumor
      on the pituitary gland

  • Symptoms

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment depends on the cause of the condition. The goal of treatment is to restore normal blood hormone levels of thyroid, adrenal, estrogen or testosterone, and sometimes growth hormone.

    Treatment options include:

    • Hormone replacement therapy—based on what types of hormones are missing
    • Tumor removal—done if the cause of the damage is a tumor
    • Radiation therapy
      —done if the cause of the damage is a cancer or tumor