Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that develop in your pituitary gland. Sometimes these tumors can cause excessive production of hormones that regulate vital body functions. Pituitary tumors can also restrict your pituitary gland, causing it to produce lower levels of hormones.
Although most pituitary tumors are not cancerous and do not spread to other parts of the body, they affect hormone production that could lead to serious health complications. So, it is extremely important that these tumors are diagnosed and treated by your doctor.
A pituitary tumor can cause serious complications in two ways. A large tumor can cause physical problems by exerting pressure on the pituitary gland and nearby structures. Pituitary tumors can also cause biochemical problems in your body by increasing the level of hormone production because the pituitary tumors themselves produce hormones. Some of the most common symptoms that arise from extraneous pressure from a pituitary tumor include:
Loss of vision
Nausea and vomiting
Fatigue and weakness
Body hair loss
Low blood pressure
Weight loss or gain
Tests that are commonly used to diagnose a pituitary tumor include blood and urine tests, brain imaging (CT scan or MRI) and vision testing. In addition to performing these tests and making a diagnosis, your doctor should refer you to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in treating disorders of the endocrine system.
Although pituitary tumors usually don’t grow or spread extensively, they can adversely affect your health. If a tumor’s growth begins to approach half an inch in diameter, it could result in vision loss because the tumor can put pressure on the optic nerves that are close to the pituitary gland. It can also lead to permanent hormonal imbalance. A potentially serious complication of a pituitary tumor is the development of sudden bleeding into the tumor, which is known as pituitary apoplexy. This is usually accompanied by a sudden, severe headache, a sudden loss of vision or double vision, nausea, cold intolerance and fatigue. Pituitary apoplexy requires emergency treatment usually with corticosteroids and possibly surgery.
If you or a loved one experienced severe injury or had to go through unnecessary surgery because your doctor failed to diagnose pituitary tumors, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim against your doctor. You may be entitled to compensation to help cover current and future medical costs, cost of ongoing medication, therapy and other associated expenses.