What are the symptoms of hypopituitarism? ...
The symptoms of hypopituitarism depend on the specific hormone that is lacking. For example, patients with reduced ACTH secretion have low cortisol levels, which can result in loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness and/or lightheadedness. This condition is called "adrenal insufficiency." Patients with reduced TSH secretion have low thyroid hormone levels resulting in a condition called "hypothyroidism". Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism can include weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, constipation, cold intolerance and hair loss. Women of reproductive age with reduced LH and FSH secretion develop amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods), infertility, and bone loss due to low estrogen levels. Men with low LH and FSH levels develop low testosterone levels, which results in lack of libido (sex drive), erectile dyfunction, infertility, fatigue, body composition abnormalities (loss of muscle mass and an increase in abdominal fat), bone loss, and sometimes, depression. Low growth hormone (GH) in children leads to short stature. In adults, GH deficiency is associated with a diminished quality of life, body composition abnormalities (including a reduction in muscle mass and increase in abdominal fat mass) and low bone density. Women with low prolactin are unable to breastfeed, but there are no known adverse effects of low prolactin in men.
Hypopituitarism is caused by damage to the pituitary gland, usually from a tumor, radiation, surgery. Traumatic brain injury and subarachnoid hemorrhages can also cause hypopituitarism. Occasionally inflammation can cause hypopituitarism and sometimes the cause is unclear. Medications can also cause hypopituitarism. For example, high-dose steroid use can lead to adrenal insufficiency and anabolic steroid use can result in low testosterone that lasts beyond the time in which the medication is used and can be permanent.
The complications of hypopituitarism are due to the specific hormone deficiency. See "What are the symptoms of hypopituitarism" above. Patient with hypopituitarism not receiving appropriate hormone replacement therapies have an increased risk of mortality.
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in endocrine (hormonal) disorders.
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