Health in Focus: Pituitary Tumors

Pituitary tumors are a problem that can go undiagnosed for your entire life. In most cases they are benign, but in some rare cases, they can be malignant.

Michelle met with Dr. Jay Jagannathan from Jagannathan Neurosurgery to talk about how exactly these can affect people and what to know about diagnoses.

Pituitary tumors are growths of abnormal cells within the pituitary gland, which is the gland that controls hormone function.

Up to 20% of patients in autopsy studies had pituitary glands that caused no symptoms, but the other 80% of people experience things like headaches, vision loss, and hormonal dysfunction.

Some of the symptoms related to hormonal overproduction are:

  • Excessive Growth (Gigantism)
  • Weight Gain
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Diabetes
  • Sexual Dysfunction

Knowing how to identify these tumors is an important step to take when you are experiencing the symptoms above. Dr. Jay Jagannathan says they can perform a hormonal panel, and MRI, and a visual field evaluation.

Many cases go untreated and they can be fatal.

Treatment is an option for people who have pituitary tumors and the options include:

  • Medications (Standard for Prolactinoma)
  • Surgical Treatment (Standard for many hormone-secreting tumors and macroadenomas)
  • Sometimes Radiation treatments (radiosurgery) as adjunct or medications when surgery fails
  • Pituitary Apoplexy (sudden loss of vision) is a medical emergency

If these do not work, they recommend surgery. They typically resort to surgery if the following symptoms are present:

  • Refractory Symptoms
  • Visual Loss
  • Effects of hormone overproduction (weight gain, diabetes, etc)

To learn more about Dr. Jay Jagannathan and Jagannathan Neurosurgery, click here.

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