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Hypopituitarism in Childhood

Description

Inadequate function of the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland, which produces hormones such as corticotrophin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone , and luteinising hormone and growth hormone (see here for more detail on these hormones), is termed hypopituitarism . This generally results in a partial or complete loss of functioning of that lobe.
Hypopituitarism can be primary (directly affecting the pituitary gland) or secondary (affecting the hypothalamus). The causes of hypopituitarism vary, depending on whether it is primary or secondary.

Symptoms and Signs

The resulting symptoms of hypopituitarism depend on which hormones are no longer being produced by the gland. Because the pituitary gland affects the other endocrine organs, effects of hypopituitarism may be gradual or sudden and dramatic. See this table for the symptoms commonly associated with insufficient production of specific pituitary hormones.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Symptoms of several underactive glands may help diagnosis of hypopituitarism. In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, diagnostic procedures for hypopituitarism may include computed tomography (CAT scan), magnetic resonance imaging ( MRI ) and blood tests to measure hormone levels.
Treatment of hypopituitarism depends on its cause. The goal of treatment is to restore the pituitary gland to normal function, producing normal levels of hormones. Treatment may include replacement hormone therapy (e.g. synthetic growth hormone in children with reduced levels of growth hormone), surgical tumour removal (if this is the cause), and/or radiation therapy.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. University of Maryland Medical System Online Health Guides: http://www.umm.edu/


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Hypopituitarism
Pituitary Gland
 

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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/child_hormones/hypopituitary.html Last modified: Jun 25 2002