Pituitary Disorder

If you are facing a disorder of the pituitary or adrenal gland, you want to know that you are getting the best care possible.  The specialists at MaineHealth offer many treatments and programs that evaluate, treat and support people with these disorders. 

What are disorders of the pituitary and adrenal gland?

The pituitary and adrenal glands are responsible for releasing hormones into your body. Hormones control many important functions.  If you have a disorder of the pituitary or adrenal gland, you are either making too much or not making enough of a certain hormone. A doctor trained in treating people with hormone problems, called an endocrinologist, can help diagnose and treat these disorders.

Adrenal gland disorders

Your adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney.  These glands release hormones that you can’t live without like:

  • Cortisol

  • Aldosterone

  • Adrenaline

  • Noradrenaline

These hormones are important because they control things like:

  • The balance of salt and water

  • Your fight or flight response

  • Sexual maturation during puberty

  • Metabolic processes like blood sugar control

Addison’s Disease and Cushing's Syndrome

Addison's Disease happens when your glands do not make enough of the hormone cortisol. Symptoms include:

  • Weight loss

  • Muscle weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Low blood pressure

A blood test can show if you have Addison’s Disease. It can be treated by taking hormone replacement medicine every day.

Cushing’s Syndrome is an adrenal gland disorder where your glands make too much of the hormone cortisol. Symptoms include:

  • Weight gain in the upper body

  • High blood pressure

  • High blood sugar

  • Bruising easily

  • Muscle weakness

A blood test can show if you have Cushing’s syndrome. Treatment depends on what is causing the syndrome.  If it is caused by tumors, treatment may include surgery, medication, chemotherapy or radiation. If the syndrome is caused by medicine taken to treat another disorder, your doctor will change your dose or give you another medicine.

Pituitary Disorders

Your pituitary gland is at the base of your brain.  It makes many important hormones that your body needs to function like:

  • Prolactin

  • Growth hormone

  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone

  • Oxytocin

These hormones are important because they control things like:

  • Breast milk production for women

  • Growth in childhood

  • Stress

  • The hormones that control your thyroid gland

  • Sperm production in men and egg production in women

Pituitary tumors are the most common pituitary gland disorder. A tumor on the pituitary gland can either cause the gland to produce too much of a hormone or too little of a hormone.  A tumor can be treated with surgery, radiation or medication.

 

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