Pituitary Gland Disorders and Tumors

Pituitary tumors, also called pituitary adenomas, are the most common cause of pituitary gland disorders. More than 99 percent of these tumors are benign. Most pituitary adenomas are known as non-functional adenomas and do not produce excessive amounts of hormones, while others can result in hormone overproduction, causing serious endocrine problems, such as acromegaly (GH excess), Cushing's syndrome (ACTH excess) or prolactinoma (prolactin excess).

Small pituitary adenomas (less than 1 cm in diameter, or smaller than a grape) are called microadenomas, while larger tumors are called macroadenomas. As pituitary tumors grow, they can compress the pituitary gland and cause decreased hormone production (pituitary insufficiency, or hypopituitarism). They can also compress the optic nerve, causing visual problems and headaches.

Other conditions can also result in pituitary problems. Tumors in the pituitary region, infections and autoimmune conditions can affect the pituitary gland and cause headaches, visual problems and hormonal abnormalities.

At Emory, our doctors are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of all pituitary-related conditions. Learn more about the comprehensive services of the Emory Pituitary Center.