PITUITARY GLAND, UNDERACTIVE (Hypopituitarism)
DESCRIPTIONUnderactivity of the pituitary gland results in inadequate amounts of hormones produced by the pituitary. The anterior lobe of the pituitary produces the following hormones: a growth hormone; prolactin, which stimulates the breasts to produce milk; a thyroid-stimulating hormone; an adrenal-stimulating hormone; ovarian- or testicular-stimulating hormones. The posterior lobe of the pituitary gland produces two hormones: an anti-diuretic hormone, which affects the kidneys in regulating the concentration and quantity of urine, and oxytocin, which stimulates contractions of the uterus during childbirth and releases milk during breast-feeding.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications. This requires close supervision and continuing treatment.
Surgery to remove underlying tumors or blood clots, if necessary.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSMenstrual irregularities.
Low blood sugar and weakness.
Retarded growth in children (evident after 6 months of age).
Lack of secondary sexual features that develop in puberty, such as voice changes, breast development, and growth of pubic hair.
Mental changes, including psychosis.
Serious head injury with pressure (usually from bleeding) on the pituitary gland.
Reduced blood supply to the pituitary gland in a mother following severe hemorrhage and shock during childbirth.
Tumor of the pituitary gland.
Infection in the child's brain.
Aneurysm of blood vessels in the base of the child's brain.
RISK FACTORSFamily history of pituitary disorders.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEObtain medical treatment for your child for the underlying injury, infection, or tumor, if possible.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory blood studies of hormone levels and function.
CAT scan (See Glossary) of the head.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSHormonal failure and death without treatment.
Usually curable with surgery or replacement therapy of pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones.
HOME CARENo specific instructions except those listed under other headings.
MEDICATIONHormones to replace those the child's pituitary is not producing.
Pain relievers after your child's surgery.
Antibiotics or anti-viral medications, if infection is causing the child's disorder.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Your child should stay as active as the condition allows.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, when appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of an underactive pituitary gland.
After surgery, your child develops signs of infections, such as fever, lethargy, and muscle aches.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.