A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth that develops within the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain. It secretes hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones control most of the other glands in the body that secrete hormones.
What is going on in the body?
The pituitary gland has three parts or lobes.
The anterior or front lobe controls growth, thyroid function, and breast milk production.
The intermediate or middle lobe controls darkening of the skin.
The posterior or back lobe controls urine production and uterine contractions during childbirth.
Pituitary tumors comprise about 10% of all brain tumors. They generally develop from the anterior lobe and are rarely caused by cancer. When the tumor enlarges, it generally grows upward. It can press on other structures, such as the optic nerves. The optic nerves carry visual signals, so vision is often affected. Pituitary tumors can also interfere with:
male hormone production
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
The exact cause of pituitary tumors is unknown. Women face a higher risk of developing pituitary tumors than men.