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Types of Pituitary Tumors

Prolactin-Producing Tumors
Prolactin-producing tumors make prolactin, a hormone that stimulates a woman's breasts to make milk during and after pregnancy. Prolactin-secreting tumors (also known as prolactin-secreting adenomas or just prolactinomas) can cause the breasts to make milk and menstrual periods to stop when a woman is not pregnant. In men, prolactin-producing tumors can cause impotence.
(Click Prolactinoma for more information on prolactin-producing tumors.)
ACTH-Producing Tumors
ACTH-producing tumors make a hormone called adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal glands to make glucocorticoids. When the body makes too much ACTH, it causes Cushing's disease. In Cushing's disease, fat builds up in the face, back, and chest, and the arms and legs become very thin. Another symptom of ACTH-producing tumors is weakened bones.
Growth Hormone-Producing Tumors
Growth hormone-producing tumors produce growth hormone. Too much growth hormone can cause acromegaly (a condition in which the hands, feet, and face are larger than normal) or gigantism (a condition in which the whole body grows much larger than normal).
Thyroid Hormone-Producing Tumors
Thyroid hormone-producing tumors make thyrotropin, which stimulates the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone helps regulate heart rate, body temperature, the level of calcium in the blood, and the rate at which food is changed into energy. Too much thyroid hormone can cause rapid heartbeat, weight loss, and other symptoms. Thyroid hormone-producing tumors may be large and may spread. They sometimes also make growth hormone, prolactin, or both.

Nonfunctioning Pituitary Adenomas

Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas do not produce hormones. Symptoms such as headaches or difficulties with vision may be caused by the tumor pressing on nearby brain tissue. If the tumor presses on or destroys parts of the pituitary gland, the pituitary gland may stop making one or more of its hormones. Lack of a certain hormone will affect the function of the gland or organ that the hormone controls. For example, if the pituitary gland stops making the hormone that affects the ovaries, the ovaries will not work normally or will not develop normally in a child.
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Pituitary Tumors

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