What are pituitary conditions?
Let’s first start by understanding what the pituitary gland is. The pituitary gland is about the size of a raisin and rests right below the brain, just behind the nose's bridge. Most medical professionals refer to the pituitary gland as the “master gland” because it is responsible for the secretion of crucial hormones that regulate other glands (thyroid and adrenal glands).

The pituitary gland is a critical component of the body's hormonal system and controls fertility, metabolism and growth. Essentially, the gland comprises two lobes, the anterior and posterior lobes, each producing different hormones.

Pituitary disorders can occur when the pituitary gland releases a limited or excessive amount of hormones. Usually, a pituitary disorder can arise due to a tumour in the gland.

Most of the time, pituitary tumours are non-cancerous but can lead to the following:

  • Imbalance of hormones causing weight gain, high blood pressure, change in mood and low sex drive
  • The tumour can push against the pituitary gland, tissues of the brain or optic nerve. As a result, you may have trouble with your vision or develop migraines.

What types of pituitary disorders exist?

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia occurs in children due to a lack of an enzyme responsible for producing cortisol or aldosterone, sometimes both. Furthermore, the androgen levels in the body increase.
  • Acromegaly arises from overstimulation of the growth hormone. Failure to treat acromegaly can affect the heart and blood vessels.
  • Craniopharyngioma is a slow-developing, benign brain tumour that has the capability of invading healthy tissue and pressing against the brain. Without treatment, a craniopharyngioma can harm the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the optic nerve.
  • Rathke's Cleft Cyst is an uncommon pituitary gland disorder that develops when a cyst forms in Rathke’s pouch, a gap in the pituitary gland.
  • Prolactinoma – a type of tumour pituitary gland tumour. This condition is characterised by menstrual problems in women as well as vision loss and infertility. Men may experience sexual dysfunction and breast enlargement.

How are pituitary conditions managed and treated?

Hypopituitarism occurs due to an underperforming pituitary gland than can be managed by taking medications to return your hormone levels to normal. Sometimes, surgery is considered and performed to restore the gland’s function. Surgery involves the removal of the tumour and tissue that do not secrete hormones.


An endonasal transsphenoidal endoscopic procedure is considered a less invasive pituitary gland surgery to visualise or remove tumours in the gland. Surgery is carried out by inserting an endoscope with a video camera attached at the end into the nose. Fortunately, the procedure boasts minimal blood loss and little to no post-operative pain.


1What is required after the surgical removal of a pituitary gland tumour?
Doctors advise radiation therapy after surgery. Post-operative care involves gamma knife therapy that delivers radiation to target specific pituitary tumours. External radiation is delivered in small fractions over six weeks.
2What is a common pituitary condition?
Pituitary adenomas (tumours) are common disorders affecting the pituitary gland. Over ninety per cent of these tumours are non-cancerous.
3Can you treat pituitary disorders?
Doctors treat disorders affecting the pituitary gland through surgery, radiation therapy and hormone replacement medications.