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Pituitary Macroadenoma

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.
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