The pituitary gland is a small but mighty gland responsible for the function of most of the other major endocrine glands. This small pea sized gland measuring about 7 mm in size and about 7 grams is the major integration point between the external world and the endocrine system.
Stress: Our body needs to deal with stress and the stress may come from the external world ( Seeing or hearing the roar of a predator), the internal mileau, (dealing with an infection) or the brain itself ( feeling sad). This is dealt with at several neuro- endocrine junctions ( eg, pituitary, adrenal gland, )
Growth: The pituitary gland is the gland that integrates the synchronous secretion of hormones to produce growth. In one swift move around the time of puberty, it blocks the action of insulin and diverts energy towards vertical growth. Wish that could just continue!
Reproduction: From sexual drive (Libido) to the production of testosterone, sperm and the menstrual cycle, at the same time checking on the maternal fat stores to ensure that the baby has a decent chance of survival. Fat cells secretes a hormone that is constantly monitored by the hypothalamus and the pituitary.
Lactation: Breast milk production is a very complex process where 4 separate hormones are orchestrated in the correct order to produce milk when the baby suckles on the breast. This is a process takes place over 9 months and all by this tiny pea in the center of your brain.
- Patient Pituitary
- 1. Will I require surgery if I have a pituitary growth?
Not always.. There are some growths that are amenable to medications. Your doctor will have to make a careful check before that is determined. The good news is that in 99% the growth is non cancerous and we don't need to do a biopsy
- 2. will I be on tablets for the rest of my life?
It is difficult to determine that without understanding your pituitary a bit better. Sometimes the pituitary may recover and then coming off the tablets is a real possibility. However it is by no means certain that you will be able to come off medications.
- 3. Will other hormones be affected if the pituitary does not function well?
Yes..( The short answer)
Most other glands including the Thyroid , the adrenal glands and the gonads will start to slow down. When the drive from the pituitry gland falls, this will result in a low level of hormones from other glands. This is not a separate malfunction of another gland but a lack of the stimulating hormone from the pituitary.
The hormones have to be restarted in a particular sequence which will be supervised by your endocrinologist.