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The Pituitary, Pancreas and Thyroid—Why These Three Little Glands Are So Important To Your Health

By Expert HERWriter
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Not too long ago, a friend of mine told me that she might have diabetes. She was clearly surprised and taken aback at the potential diagnosis and was sucking in air. So was I, quite frankly, when she told me what was going on.

Coincidentally, less than a week later, my physician told me that my fasting blood sugar level from my latest round of blood work was too high. I started sucking in air all over again. In addition, my thyroid levels were off again.

I’ve written before about my ongoing battle with my thyroid and how I’m working with my physician to keep it regulated with medication. After doing pretty well with it for a period of time, recently my thyroid levels have been all over the map—from a 0.75 to an 8, to a 2 to a 4—it’s been all over the board.

Much to my surprise, my physician suggested that I might also be having problems with my pituitary gland. She suggested that I have a full panel of blood work, including a re-test of my fasting blood glucose just to either confirm or rule out diabetes, as well as a complete check and MRI of my pituitary gland to see if it might be throwing off my thyroid.

I left the office thinking “what on Earth just happened here?” For so long I’ve been focused on my thyroid gland—it never occurred to me that I might have issues with my pancreas and/or pituitary glands too.

I got home, and began by researching the pituitary. As it turns out, the little pea-shaped gland located in the base of the brain is responsible for all sorts of things, including growth, blood pressure, and the way the thyroid works. So with my new round of thyroid issues, I could see why my doctor suggested the pituitary might be involved somehow.

One symptom that I’ve had lately that had puzzled me is that my breasts have been getting larger. Since I’ve had a complete hysterectomy it’s not a premenstrual issue or anything like that. I’ve gone from a C-cup to a DD in a very short period of time, and it’s been really uncomfortable to deal with. I’ve gained a bit of weight lately, but not a huge amount, so that shouldn’t account for my larger breasts. Actually, it seems that all of the weight I’ve put on has gone straight for my chest.

In my reading about the pituitary, I learned that the gland is also responsible for milk production in the breasts, which I thought was really interesting. While I wasn’t having any discharge of milk from my nipples or anything, I thought it might be tied in somehow to their increased size.

So, here’s a tip for the day—if you notice any discharge coming out of your nipples, please give your doctor a jingle and ask to have your pituitary gland checked out. To be honest with you, if I had noticed milk or anything else leaking from my breasts, I would have immediately thought “oh no—breast cancer!” and completely freaked out. But the pituitary glad might be to blame in some of these cases so it’s something to keep in mind.

Have any of you ever experienced any pituitary-related symptoms? Has your doctor ever mentioned getting it checked out? Stay tuned, and in Part 2 of this story I’ll let you know what happened next!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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