Your pituitary gland is a tiny organ at the base of your brain that produces hormones that affect growth and the function of other glands — such as the thyroid gland or adrenal glands.
The most common type of pituitary disorder is an abnormal growth or tumor, which is almost always noncancerous (benign). A pituitary tumor can cause your body to overproduce or underproduce hormones — resulting in a variety of conditions — or it can grow and press on the gland itself or other areas of the brain and cause headaches, vision problems, or other health problems.
Other pituitary disorders, many of which are caused by pituitary tumors, include:
- Acromegaly: overproduction of growth hormone, which can cause overgrowth or enlargement of different areas of the body, such as the hands, feet, or facial features
- Adult growth hormone (GH) deficiency: underproduction of GH, which decreases muscle mass and increases body fat
- Cushing’s disease: overproduction of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which results in too much cortisol in the body
- Diabetes insipidus: underproduction of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which causes frequent urination and excessive thirst
- Hypopituitarism: the pituitary gland doesn't produce one or more of the hormones it normally produces
- Prolactinoma: a pituitary gland tumor that causes too much prolactin hormone, which can prevent estrogen production in women and cause erectile dysfunction in men
The Pituitary Disorders Specialty Clinic at University of Miami Health System offers comprehensive treatment for all conditions that affect the pituitary gland. Our specialists have advanced experience and use the latest approaches to diagnose and treat pituitary tumors and disorders.
Medicines can help lower your body’s production of hormones and are used to treat conditions such as acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes insipidus. Doctors also use medicines to treat pituitary tumors.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
If your body doesn't make enough of one or more hormones, hormone replacement therapy can restore hormonal imbalance for conditions such as adult growth hormone deficiency or prolactinoma. HRT can be given as a pill or by injection.
Radiation therapy can be used to treat pituitary tumors — both benign and cancerous. University of Miami Health System offers leading-edge radiation technology that provides greater precision, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and MRI-guided radiation therapy. These approaches offer shorter treatment times and less damage to surrounding tissue.
Sometimes surgery is necessary if a tumor is affecting vision, it’s spread into the brain, or if overproduction of hormones can't be controlled with other approaches. In some instances, surgeons can remove the tumor through your nose without requiring an incision.
Blood and Urine Tests
Blood and urine tests can discover hormone imbalances.
Hormone Stimulation or Suppression Tests
Doctors use medicines, hormones, or other substances to stimulate or suppress your body's production of hormones and evaluate how your body responds. For example, a growth hormone suppression test uses a sweetened drink, which normally lowers GH levels, to diagnose acromegaly.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans of your brain can find tumors and other abnormalities and help your doctor plan treatment.
Why Choose UHealth?
Advanced pituitary disorders expertise. Our endocrinology specialists have the expertise to treat rare and complex pituitary disorders. If you have a pituitary tumor, we determine the best treatment approach and go over all your options. We use the least-invasive techniques available to help you feel better as quickly as possible.
A comprehensive, team approach. Our endocrinologists work closely with surgeons, ophthalmologists, radiation oncologists, and other specialists to provide complete care. We develop a personalized treatment plan to restore hormone balance and relieve symptoms.
The latest, research-backed treatments. As an academic medical center, we leverage the latest research completed by the nationally recognized University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to offer the latest treatments — including promising new treatments through clinical trials. You benefit from medical advancements before they’re widely available, provided by leading endocrinology experts who are known worldwide for their expertise.