Pituitary Gland Disorders

The Pituitary Gland

The Pituitary Gland Functions

The pituitary gland is a small gland at the base of the brain that is sometimes called the “master gland” since it controls other endocrine glands. It receives messages from part of the brain above it (hypothalamus) and secretes hormones that control the adrenal glands, the thyroid gland and the testes in men and ovaries in women. It also secretes other hormones involved in water and sodium balance, growth and lactation. Pituitary tumors or other abnormalities of the pituitary can sometimes cause secretion of too much or too little of these hormones, which may result in specific endocrine syndromes that can sometimes be overlooked unless certain specific tests are performed. Adequate amounts of growth hormone are needed in adults; adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD) may especially be underdiagnosed, since its symptoms (fatigue, muscle weakness, decreased social contact) can be quite subtle. In addition to obtaining a complete history and physical examination with emphasis on these disorders, we order specific blood and urine tests to screen for these disorders. Sometimes imaging tests (ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI) may also be required. When necessary these screening tests are followed up with sophisticated dynamic stimulation tests done in our office by our highly trained and very experienced staff.

Pituitary Gland Disorders & Diseases

Dr. Stonesifer has a special interest in pituitary disorders. Pituitary disease was a special focus during his fellowship training and he continues to attend meetings regularly devoted to pituitary dysfunction. He is a member of the Pituitary Society and the Pituitary Network Association. He has participated in many research studies regarding replacement of pituitary hormones and authored several medical articles concerning pituitary disease. Pituitary abnormalities from head trauma are becoming more frequently recognized. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) from motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, physical injury and more recently blast injuries seen in our soldiers returning from the wars in the Middle East may all cause pituitary abnormalities. Dr. Stonesifer is a regional leader in diagnosing and treating these patients.

Diagnosing a Pituitary Gland Disorder

When a diagnosis of pituitary dysfunction is made, often medication can control the problem. In some cases when a pituitary tumor is large, or affecting the optic nerve (which runs across the top of the pituitary gland) and potentially may affect vision, we will work in close collaboration with a neurosurgeon to ensure the best possible outcome. We provide continued follow up including lifelong hormone replacement for situations that require this therapy. The vast majority of patients will be able to have a long and healthy life with proper medication.

Contact Stonesifer Endocrine Care & Clinical Research

To schedule your appointment, please call 253-927-4777.