Pituitary tumors are among the most common types of brain tumors, representing approximately 10-15% of all primary brain tumors. Pituitary tumors affect the pituitary gland, a small organ in the brain that produces hormones used to regulate the body. Tumors in this gland result in hormone deficiencies or overproduction with a widespread effect on the body. Though they can occur at any age, most patients are between 30 and 50 years old when first diagnosed.
At IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics, we treat these and other brain tumors in New Jersey and New York, serving patients from across the tri-state area. Our board-certified surgeons offer cutting-edge techniques to ensure the best possible outcome for every patient.
Types and Symptoms of Pituitary Tumors
Most pituitary tumors are nonfunctioning adenomas, meaning they produce no extra hormones. These tumors may exist for years without symptoms. As they grow, however, they place pressure on nearby brain tissue and crush healthy pituitary cells. This results in symptoms including:
- Chronic headaches
- Feeling cold, even in warm surroundings
- Vision loss, especially of peripheral vision
- Unintentional weight gain or loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased bladder activity
Other pituitary tumors are functional. This means they produce their own hormones, resulting in hormone overproduction, which impacts the body as a whole. Symptoms depend on which hormones are overproduced by the tumor, detailed as follows:
These tumors stimulate the overproduction of cortisol, known as the fight-or-flight hormone. This causes symptoms such as:
- Anxiety, irritability, and depression
- High blood pressure and blood sugar
- Bruising and stretch marks
- Fat accumulation and facial roundness
- Muscle and bone weakness
- Thinness in arms and legs
Some tumors overproduce prolactin, which causes breast growth and development in both women and men and the production of milk after pregnancy. Prolactinomas cause symptoms like:
- Irregular or stopped menstrual cycles
- Nipple discharge
- Erectile dysfunctional
- Reduced body hair
Growth Hormone-Secreting Tumors
Overproduction of acromegaly, or the growth hormone, results in:
- Coarsened features and enlarged extremities
- High blood pressure and heart problems
- Increased, thick body hair
- Misaligned teeth
- Excessive sweating
- Joint pain
Very rarely, pituitary tumors will result in hyperthyroidism. This is identifiable by the following:
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Excessive sweating
- Irritability, anxiety, and nervousness
- Overly frequent bowel movements
- Unintended and rapid weight loss
Our Treatments for Pituitary Tumors
Nearly all pituitary tumors are curable, but not every case will require treatment. Very small, nonfunctional tumors can simply be observed through regular MRIs. We may also prescribe medication to block tumors from producing excessive hormones. Larger tumors, on the other hand, might be treated with one of the following techniques:
- Transsphenoidal surgery: This minimally invasive surgery accesses the tumor through the nose. Incisions are made under the gum line, leaving no visible scars.
- Transcranial surgery: Larger tumors may require a transcranial surgical approach, which accesses the tumor through the skull.
- Radiation: This targets the tumor with a beam of low-dose radiation. It is most frequently used on tumors that recur after surgery.
Seek Tumor Treatment Today
If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, seek superior care from the experts at IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics. In New Jersey and New York, we treat pituitary tumors and other conditions for patients from across the tri-state area. Contact us to learn more about our cutting-edge treatments and the advanced qualifications of our staff, or request an appointment today to discuss your treatment options.