Pituitary Tumors Q & A
Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths and tissue in your pituitary gland. Because your pituitary gland produces and regulates essential hormones, a tumor can have negative impacts such as delayed growth in children, headaches, vision loss, poor sex drive, hair loss, and others. At SCENT- Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat, a team of board-certified ear, nose, and throat physicians offers the best in pituitary tumor diagnosis and care. The five convenient locations span the 405, so call the Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, or Torrance, California, location or book online anytime.
What are pituitary tumors?
A pituitary tumor is a growth within your pituitary gland, the tiny gland that produces and regulates hormones, including prolactin, growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
There are three general types of pituitary tumors:
- Benign adenomas: noncancerous tumors confined to the pituitary gland
- Invasive adenomas: noncancerous tumors that spread to your skull or sinuses
- Carcinomas: cancerous tumors that spread to your brain, spinal cord, or beyond
Most pituitary tumors are adenomas.
What are the symptoms of a pituitary tumor?
Pituitary tumors are either non-functioning or functioning. Non-functioning tumors don’t make excess hormones, while functioning ones produce excess hormones. Both too little and too many hormones can cause serious symptoms and problems.
Symptoms can vary according to whether it’s a non-functioning or functioning tumor and also the specific hormones involved. Some of the many possible symptoms of pituitary tumors can include:
- Poor vision
- Weight changes
- Body hair loss
- Gynecomastia (breast tissue growth) in men
- Impotence in men
- No milk production while breastfeeding
- New milk production in nonpregnant, non-breastfeeding women
- Amenorrhea, no menstrual period in women
- Erratic menstrual period in women
- Poor libido
- Delayed growth in children
- New fatty neck mass
- Nausea and vomiting
There are dozens of additional possible symptoms, as well.
The team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat can analyze your symptoms and use a variety of diagnostic tools such as a physical exam, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT), blood chemistry study, other blood tests, urine tests, and biopsy to determine if you have a pituitary tumor.
How do you treat pituitary tumors?
Treatment varies based on the kind of tumor, its size, and its stage. Other factors that can influence treatment can include tumor symptoms, whether it’s spread to other parts of your body, and whether it’s producing hormones.
You may need radiation, chemotherapy, drug therapy, or surgery for a pituitary tumor. In many cases, a minimally invasive skull-based surgery is the most effective solution for a cancerous or overproducing pituitary tumor.
The team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat works with neurosurgeons, both in presurgical consultations and in the operating room, to ensure optimal outcomes with pituitary gland and other skull-based lesion surgeries.
Suspect a pituitary gland problem? The team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat is ready to customize your care and help you get healthy. Call the office nearest you or book a consultation with the online appointment tool around the clock.