The role of the pituitary gland in the human body is difficult to overestimate. This gland is responsible for the production of vital hormones, and any disruption in its functioning entails serious consequences. One of the most dangerous is a pituitary tumor, the symptoms of which in women and men are mostly similar. How to recognize the development of tumors?
Pituitary tumor: what is it?
In order to understand how dangerous a tumor (adenoma) can be to the body, one should have an idea about the functions of the pituitary gland. It is an endocrine gland on which the production of growth hormones, sexual function and metabolism depends. Any violations in the work of this body lead to a disorder of the activity of the whole organism.
Most often, pituitary tumors develop in women between the ages of 20 and 40, although men are also affected by this disease. Due to adenoma, a hormonal imbalance is obtained. In some cases, the disease does not affect the general condition of the patient, but this is rare.
If a person is diagnosed with adenoma, i.e. a pituitary tumor, the first thing he thinks about is death possible. In particularly severe stages, the disease is indeed fatal. But, if you pay attention to the symptoms in time, you can prevent further development of the disease.
Causes of a tumor can be:
- hereditary factor;
- infections involving the nervous system;
- chronic sinusitis;
- damage to the skull;
- complications during pregnancy;
- hormonal drugs.
The first signs of problems with the pituitary gland can be various symptoms. They need to be treated with all the attention.
Signs of disease
Doctors tend to divide all the symptoms of adenoma development into two groups - biochemical and physical. In General, the deterioration of the patient will be as follows:
- the body is weakened, prone to frequent diseases;
- a person constantly feels tired;
- regular headaches;
- nausea, vomiting;
- hypotension; in the work of the heart failures are observed;
- rapid change in body weight (loss or gain);
- peripheral vision is lost.
Biochemical processes in the body are rapidly changing, the balance of hormones is disturbed. If the amount of hormonal compounds increases, the patient’s appearance is transformed:
- hands and feet gradually increase;
- there is increased sweating;
- bite changes;
- significantly increased growth.
In case of violation of the reproductive function, the patient notices the following changes:
- in women, the menstrual cycle becomes irregular, discharge starts from the nipples;
- in men, nipples are enlarged, in some cases they ooze, there is no erection;
- decreases hairline.
With a pituitary tumor, an increase in the level of the hormone thyroxin may be observed. A condition called hyperthyroidism develops, which manifests itself in irritability, a sharp decrease in weight and a violation of the pulse rate.
If thyroxin is produced in insufficient quantities, this may lead to the development of other signs of the disease:
- growth retardation;
- diabetes insipidus;
- sexual dysfunction;
- chronic fatigue, migraine, brittle hair and bones.
In order to recognize a tumor in time, it is necessary to undergo diagnostic tests. They will allow the doctor to correctly diagnose.
Diagnosis and treatment
If a pituitary tumor is suspected, the doctor may prescribe tests:
- MRI and CT of the brain;
- the study of blood and urine for hormones (allows you to set the level of the relevant compounds in the body and identify abnormalities);
- X-ray of the nasal sinuses and skull bones;
- ophthalmologic examinations (for this, you will first need to consult an oculist).
If the disease passes the initial stage, it can be stopped. To this end, the patient is prescribed hormonal drugs that regulate the secretion of certain compounds. The action of medicines can be directed both at stimulating the production and suppressing hormones.
For more serious violations, radical measures will be needed:
- radiation therapy (exposure to a gamma knife, often combined with surgery);
- surgery to remove the tumor;
- cryodestruction (freezing and destruction of the tumor under the influence of low temperatures);
- mixed treatment, including surgery and medication.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to return the patient to his former state 100% even after surgery. Favorable is the prognosis if the growth of the tumor is stopped. However, hormone therapy and surgery have a number of side effects that the patient will have to put up with:
- work of adrenal glands is broken, they function not in full force;
- sexual and reproductive functions are significantly impaired;
- the blood flow in the pituitary gland slows down, therefore it is not necessary to talk about his full work.
To prevent yourself from developing a tumor, you should follow the rules of precaution:
- not to use oral contraceptives for a long time, as most of them affect the production of hormones;
- time to conduct treatment of sinusitis and hormonal disorders;
- to achieve the complete cure of infectious diseases, preventing their transition to the nervous system and brain.
The pituitary tumor has similar symptoms in women and men, so it is not necessary to differentiate them by sex. You should be attentive to your condition and respond to any discomfort that causes severe inconvenience. This is the only way to maintain a full life and health.