There are several types of pituitary microadenomas, classified based on whether they produce hormones or not. A pituitary microadenoma that makes one or more of the pituitary hormones is called a functioning pituitary microadenoma. A pituitary microadenoma that does not make hormones is called a nonfunctioning pituitary microadenoma.
Each type of functioning pituitary microadenoma causes different symptoms, depending on the type of hormone that is being produced. Examples of functioning pituitary microadenomas include:
- Prolactin-producing microadenomas
- Growth hormone-producing microadenomas
- ACTH-producing microadenomas
- Thyroid hormone-producing microadenomas.
Symptoms of a pituitary microadenoma can range from simple, common complaints, such as tiredness or restlessness, to more serious symptoms, such as headaches, vomiting, or dizziness.
Pituitary microadenoma symptoms vary, depending on the size and location of the microadenoma. Pituitary microadenoma symptoms also vary based on the hormones being produced.
(Click Pituitary Tumor Symptoms for more information about symptoms of a pituitary microadenoma.)
When making a pituitary microadenoma diagnosis, the doctor will normally ask about a person's medical history, including questions about his or her current symptoms, whether there is a family history of any medical problems, and any medicines the patient is taking. The doctor will also usually perform a physical exam, looking for any signs of a pituitary microadenoma, and order certain tests.
These tests can include:
- Blood tests to measure hormone levels
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
- Computed tomography (CT) scans
- Petrosal sinus samplings
- Eye exams.
(Click Diagnosing Pituitary Tumors for more information on how a pituitary microadenoma is diagnosed.)