Pituitary Conditions

The “Master Control” Gland

Located in the brain, the pituitary gland is about the size of a pea and is referred to as the “master control gland” because it makes hormones that affect growth and the functions of other glands in the body.

With pituitary disorders, you often have too much or too little of one of your hormones.  A tumor is the most common pituitary condition. Pituitary tumors are mostly noncancerous growths and don't spread to other parts of your body.

Types of Pituitary Tumors

  • Overfunctioning: Functioning pituitary tumors cause an overproduction of hormones.
  • Deficiency: Large tumors that could cause hormonal deficiencies.
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting (ACTH) tumors: Tumors that produce the hormone adrenocorticotropin, which stimulates your adrenal glands to make the hormone cortisol.
  • Cushing’s syndrome results from your adrenal glands producing too much cortisol.
  • Growth hormone-secreting tumors: These tumors produce excess growth hormone (acromegaly).
  • Prolactin-secreting tumors: Overproduction of prolactin can cause a decrease in normal levels of sex hormones — estrogen in women and testosterone in men.