A pituitary macroadenoma is a non-cancerous growth in the pituitary gland that is more than 10 mm in size. When determining the type of pituitary macroadenoma a person has, doctors look at what kinds of hormones it produces -- if any -- and what symptoms the person has. Symptoms of a pituitary macroadenoma vary, but may include headaches, vision problems, vomiting, and dizziness. Pituitary macroadenoma treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, and drug therapy.
Pituitary Macroadenoma: An Introduction
A pituitary macroadenoma is a benign (non-cancerous) growth in the pituitary gland that is larger than 10 millimeters in size. A pituitary macroadenoma differs from a pituitary microadenoma, which is smaller than 10 millimeters.
Understanding the Pituitary Gland
The pituitary gland, sometimes called the master gland, plays a critical role in regulating growth and development, metabolism, and reproduction. The pituitary gland produces a number of key hormones, including:
- Prolactin, which stimulates the breasts to produce milk during pregnancy. After delivery of the baby, a mother's prolactin levels fall unless she breastfeeds her infant. Each time the baby nurses, prolactin levels rise to maintain milk production.
- Thyrotropin, which signals the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone.
- Growth hormone, which regulates growth.
- Luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, which regulate ovulation and estrogen and progesterone production in women, and sperm formation and testosterone production in men.
- ACTH (adrenocorticotropin), which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
The pituitary gland sits in the middle of the head in a bony box called the sella turcica.