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Pituitary Adenoma Symptoms & Diagnosis


Symptoms can vary quite a bit. It will depend on whether or not the tumor is secreting hormones. The tumor's location at the base of the brain can also cause symptoms.

General symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Impotence and infertility
  • Painful intercourse

Symptoms from Prolactin Secreting Adenoma (40% of all cases)

  • Fractures from osteoporosis
  • Milk production from nonlactating females
  • Amenorrhea
  • Vaginal dryness

Symptoms from Thyrotropin-secreting Adenoma

  • Enlarged thyroid (eg goiter)

Symptoms from Corticotropin-secreting Adenoma:

  • Menstrual disturbance
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting glucose
  • Skin changes (increased facial hair, acne, bruising, bluish stretch marks
  • Buffalo hump (increased fatty tissue in back)
  • Obesity especially around the wrist
  • Round face

Growth Hormone-secreting Adenoma

  • Acromegaly (adult)
  • Gigantism (child)
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood sugar
  • Facial features coarse
  • Oily skin
  • Excess sweating

Pituitary adenomas may also be associated with the following conditions:


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to an endocrinologist. This is a doctor that focuses on these glands. Tests may include:

  • Blood tests—to measure hormone levels, blood sugar levels (prolactin, TSH, growth hormone, corticotrophin or aCTH, beta human gonadotropin, nsulin-like growth factor-1, alpha subunit), and to identify other underlying conditions that may be causing your symptoms
  • Urine tests—to measure excretion levels of certain pituitary gland hormones (beta human gonadotropin, cortisol)
  • Visual field tests—to check for problems with peripheral vision
  • MRI scan —a test that uses strong magnets and radio waves to create pictures of structures inside the brain

Special Tests

  • Glucose tolerance test—the standard test for acromegaly
  • Dexamethasone suppression test and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) test—best tests to see if excessive secretion of hormones from the adrenal gland is due to a pituitary adenoma

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2024 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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