Pituitary Adenoma is a benign growth within a pituitary gland. Pituitary adenoma causes are currently unknown by doctors and scientists. Pituitary adenoma treatment in most cases consists of medications, but sometimes may also involve a surgery or radiation therapy. It is important to understand that not all pituitary tumors require treatment and in some cases, only observation may be needed. Below you may find more information on this subject.
The pituitary gland consists of different types of pituitary cells and each of them produces special hormones that are released into the bloodstream that affect other organs in the body.
Pituitary adenomas are mostly benign tumors that develop in the pituitary gland. One characteristic of adenomas is that they only stay within the pituitary gland, instead of spreading to other parts of the body.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PITUITARY ADENOMAS?
The classifications of pituitary adenomas are separated into several different types depending on their properties:
- Size:Adenomas that are less than one centimeter in size are known as microadenoma. Adenomas that are one centimeter or greater are known as macroadenoma.
- Aggressiveness:Most pituitary adenomas are benign and grow at a slow rate. Atypical pituitary adenoma (the rarer type) grows more quickly and has a higher rate of recurring. Pituitary carcinomas (malignant tumors) can spread to other parts of the body. Thankfully, they are extremely rare.
- Hormone secretion:Pituitary adenomas that release an excessive amount of active hormones are known as hormonally active or functional tumors.
Pituitary tumors occur when tumor cells produce an excess of one or more hormones, it is known as functional adenoma. Pituitary tumors occur from one of these specialized cells:
- Prolactinoma: A tumor that overproduces prolactin
- Acromegaly (adults) andGigantism (child):Triggered by excess of growth hormone
- Cushing’s disease: An overproduction of cortisol stimulated by a pituitary tumor
If they do not release an active hormone, they are known as clinically non-functioning adenomas.
SYMPTOMS OF PITUITARY ADENOMA
Pituitary adenoma symptoms vary depending on whether they are hormone-producing or clinically nonfunctioning. Hormone-producing pituitary adenomas overproduce and release excessive amounts of active hormones into the bloodstream. Other symptoms include:
- Irregular menstrual cycle in women
- Lower libido
- Weak muscles and bones
- Joint pain
- High blood pressure
- Hair loss
- Visual disturbance
PITUITARY ADENOMA TREATMENT OPTIONS
There are a number of treatment options for pituitary tumors:
- Endoscopic transnasal transsphenoidal surgery: A method that allows surgeons to extract the tumor through the nose and sinuses without the need of external incision.
- Medical therapy:A proportion of pituitary adenomas respond very well to medical treatment and often surgery is not required. Close monitoring of the size and pituitary function is needed in this case.
- Radiation Therapy for Pituitary Adenomas: Radiation therapy can be effective in controlling the growth of these tumors when the tumors can’t be removed surgically and they don’t respond to medications. Stereotactic radiosurgery is an advance method of radiation therapy where carefully sculpted radiation beam delivers high dose of radiation to the tumor target. The surrounding brain structures receive only a fraction of the radiation. Typically, the healthy structures are unharmed with the exception of the pituitary gland. The down side of radiation treatment is that it may cause delayed pituitary failure years after the treatment. You will require hormone replacement if it happens.
DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES AVAILABLE TO DETECT PITUITARY ADENOMA
Tests used for diagnosing pituitary tumors include:
- Blood and urine tests: Used to analyze whether there are excess levels or hormones or hormone deficiency.
- Brain imaging: Tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans are often used to help pinpoint the location and size of the pituitary tumor.