Hypopituitarism is a rare condition in which there’s a deficiency of one, multiple or all of the hormones made by your pituitary gland. Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hypopituitarism depend on which hormones are lacking.


Pituitary adenomas

One of the most common causes of primary hypopituitarism is a pituitary adenoma (a benign, or noncancerous, tumor). If the adenoma is of a certain size or is growing, it can cause pressure on your pituitary or block blood flow to it.

Brain tumors

Certain brain tumors near your hypothalamus and/or pituitary gland can cause hypopituitarism.

Lymphocytic hypophysitis (LH)

This is a rare condition in which your pituitary gland becomes invaded by lymphocytes (cells of your immune system), causing your pituitary gland to become enlarged and not function properly.

Pituitary or hypothalamus sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a disease that causes inflammation to the affected organ(s) and/or gland(s).


Symptoms of growth hormone deficiency in newborns

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

  • An abnormally small penis (micropenis) in babies assigned male at birth.

Symptoms of growth hormone deficiency in children

  • Slow growth or no growth.

  • Short height (stature).

  • Missing or delayed sexual development during puberty.

Symptoms of growth hormone deficiency in adults

  • Fatigue.

  • Reduced sense of wellbeing.

  • Decreased sexual function and sexual interest.

  • Higher amount of body fat, particularly around the waist.

  • Sensitivity to heat and cold.

  • Decreased muscle mass.

  • Decreased strength and stamina when exercising.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

  • Fatigue.

  • Dry skin and thinning hair.

  • Constipation.

  • Weight gain.

  • Muscle weakness.

  • Sensitivity to cold temperatures.

  • Depression.

  • For people assigned female at birth, experiencing heavier-than-normal menstrual periods or irregular periods.

Symptoms of ACTH deficiency in newborns

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

  • The rate of weight gain is significantly lower than average (failure to thrive).

  • Seizures.

  • Yellowing skin (jaundice).

Symptoms of ACTH deficiency in children and adults

  • Fatigue.

  • Unexplained weight loss.

  • Low blood pressure (hypotension).

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

  • Confusion.


Hormone level blood tests

Your provider may order different blood tests that measure the levels of certain hormones in your blood depending on your symptoms.

Hormone stimulation tests

For this test, your provider uses medicine to stimulate your pituitary gland to release the hormone that they’re testing. They then take samples of your blood and send them to a lab for testing.

Insulin tolerance test

An insulin tolerance test can diagnose growth hormone (GH) and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH or corticotropin) deficiencies.

Osmolality tests for blood and urine

This test checks for antidiuretic hormone (ADH) deficiency. It requires blood and urine (pee) samples.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans

MRI scans use radio waves and strong magnets to create detailed images of inside your body. Brain MRIs are considered the best way to find pituitary tumors that could be causing hypopituitarism.

Brain CT (computed tomography) scan

Your provider may use this test to see if you have a brain tumor or pituitary adenoma (noncancerous tumor) that’s causing hypopituitarism. A brain CT scan uses X-rays to create detailed images of your brain and pituitary gland.


Treatment for hypopituitarism depends on which pituitary hormone(s) are deficient and the cause of the hypopituitarism. For that reason, treatment is very individualized. Your healthcare team will determine what the best treatment plan is for you. Common treatment options for hypopituitarism include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy: Hormone replacement therapy aims to restore the deficient pituitary hormone(s) to normal levels.

  • Surgery: Pituitary adenomas can cause hypopituitarism. People who have pituitary adenomas may undergo surgery to remove the adenoma.

  • Radiation therapy: Some pituitary adenomas can be treated using radiation therapy.

diseases treatments health disorders hypopituitarism prevention endocrine-system

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