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A small organ at the base of the brain, the pituitary gland is a very powerful component of the endocrine system. Not much bigger than a pea, the pituitary gland secretes and produces many different hormones that not only regulate important biochemical processes, but also govern the behavior of other glands.
Occasionally, a pituitary gland tumor will grow that could alter the way the pituitary gland, in ways known as hypersecretion, hyposecretion, and tumor mass effects. These pituitary gland behaviors will be discussed shortly. In addition to disruptions caused by pituitary gland tumors, other conditions caused by a malfunctioning pituitary gland can also occur. One of these illnesses, acromegaly, will also be discussed in greater detail.
If you are looking for specific information, please visit our Pituitary Gland page. There you will find plentiful and detailed information about the conditions that can affect pituitary gland. Also available are PDF documents in both English and Spanish.
Hormones Produced by the Pituitary Gland
To get a better understanding of the reach of pituitary gland functions, and to better understand how these functions can be compromised by a pituitary gland tumor, it is worth taking a moment to take a closer look at the hormones produced by the pituitary gland and what each hormone does.
With an understanding of systems affected by the pituitary gland, it is time to look at the affect that a pituitary gland tumor can have on the body.
Pituitary Gland Tumor: Secretory and Non-Secretory
A pituitary gland tumor will present itself as one of two types: secretory or non-secretory. A secretory pituitary gland tumor accelerates the production of hormones. Non-secretory tumors become problematic when their size begins to interfere with the normal functioning of the pituitary gland.
These two pituitary gland tumor types can cause three general types of problems.
To learn more about pituitary gland tumor characteristics and to gain more detailed information of the problems associated with a pituitary gland tumor, please visit our Pituitary Gland page. If you suspect you may have a pituitary gland tumor, you should consult a pituitary gland specialist.
Although very rare, acromegaly is a visible illness related to the pituitary gland. As a hypersecretory condition caused by a pituitary gland tumor, acromegaly affects both children (known as gigantism) and adults and is characterized by the overproduction of growth hormone. Outward signs of acromegaly include abnormally large hands and feet, protruding forehead and jaw, thicker lips and teeth that are more widely spaced than normal. Course facial features are also common.
Our Pituitary Gland Resources Page contains more information about acromegaly, including diagnosis and treatment information.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumor or other illness related to the pituitary gland, such as acromegaly, The Hormone Health Network aims to be your primary source for information online. Through the cooperation of endocrine specialists, educational programs, informative publications, and strategic partnerships, we hope to not only educate individuals about pituitary gland disorders and other endocrine system diseases, but also help them live better, healthier lives.
Anne Klibanski, MD
If you would like to learn more about The Hormone Health Network and the informational resources we offer, please Contact Us today.
Additional Information About the Endocrine System: