Pituitary tumors are variable in nature, and patients can experience a wide range of symptoms. Learning about pituitary tumors can help you understand the symptoms you are experiencing.
- Some pituitary tumor symptoms are because the tumor is pressing on adjacent structures.
- Secreting pituitary tumors release hormones that can affect the body and cause symptoms.
- It is important to work with a doctor in northern NJ who understands pituitary tumors and can effectively manage your case.
Not All Pituitary Tumors are Created Equal
Pituitary tumors can vary in size, makeup and the symptoms they cause. That’s why it is important to work with a doctor experienced in treating pituitary tumors. Learning more about your pituitary tumor will help you as you move through the diagnosis, treatment and recovery stages of your care. One important aspect is to understand your pituitary tumor symptoms and what to look for. This can be especially important if you are still in the diagnosis and treatment planning stage, as your symptoms can be important clues about your individual condition.
About Pituitary Tumors
The pituitary gland may be small, but it’s called the “master switch” of the body for a reason. The gland itself is about the size of a pea and sits within the sella turcica, an area of the skull near the back of the nose. The pituitary gland is important because it is made up of different types of cells, and each type secretes an important hormone. These hormones, in turn, affect other hormones with vital roles within the body, such as growth, thyroid function and cortisol release.
A pituitary tumor can be made up of any of these cells, which is why pituitary tumor symptoms can be so variable. These tumor cells may release excess hormones, making it a secreting tumor. Other tumors do not, hence making them non-secreting tumors. Either type of pituitary tumor may still cause symptoms and/or necessitate treatment by pressing on adjacent structures, such as blood vessels and nerves.
Pituitary Tumor Symptoms
Your pituitary tumor symptoms are not necessarily going to be the same as the next patient’s. However, recognizing these symptoms and sharing them with your doctor will help provide important information to facilitate an accurate diagnosis. Your symptoms will depend on whether you have a secreting tumor, as well as the size of your tumor and what structures, if any, are impacted.
A tumor that has grown large enough to press on nearby structures can cause:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vision issues
- Changes in sense of smell
- Nasal drainage
- Facial numbness
Secreting pituitary tumor symptoms will depend on which hormones are in excess. These symptoms can vary in presentation and severity and can include:
- Reproductive issues, such as infertility, disrupted menstrual cycle, erectile dysfunction and nipple discharge
- Cushing’s syndrome, including acne, excessive hair growth, rapid weight gain, fat at the base of the neck, rounded facial appearance and thickened skin
- Thyroid issues, affecting concentration, energy levels, appetite and weight loss
- Enlarged hands and feet, joint and bone pain, growth of the skull and headaches
Diagnosing a Pituitary Tumor
Some patients do not experience any symptoms and learn about a pituitary tumor when a doctor discovers it while ordering imaging for another condition. However, if you do experience pituitary tumor symptoms, these can act as clues to help your doctor determine what types of cells make up your tumor. This information, along with diagnostic imaging like a CT scan or MRI, will help your doctor develop a treatment plan appropriate for your individual condition.
It is important you work with a specialist in the tri-state area who has experience in diagnosing and treating pituitary tumors. A person with a small pituitary tumor that secretes growth hormone may require a very different treatment plan than someone with a large non-secreting pituitary tumor. These nuances can have a large impact on which treatment option will be most effective for you, and working with an experienced NJ doctor will ensure you receive appropriate care.
Find A Doctor Who Understands Pituitary Tumors
At this point, you can appreciate how different pituitary tumors can be in their presentation and the symptoms they cause. This is why it is so important to work with a specialist in the tri-state area who can help diagnose your pituitary tumor properly, then work with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment can include careful monitoring, medication, surgery, Gamma Knife radiosurgery or a combination approach. With so many factors to consider, an experienced doctor will be able to guide you along your treatment path.
Once you find the doctor in NJ that is right for you, he or she will work with you to ensure you are comfortable at all stages along the way. As you move forward through this process, be sure to maintain an open line of discussion with your doctor. He or she will be able to help you relate the information you learn on your own to your specific condition. Continue educating yourself about your condition and the pituitary treatment options available in NJ. This understanding will help you have peace of mind, allowing you to rest easy knowing your health is in good hands.