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Pediatric Pituitary Lesions

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Summary

A pituitary lesion is an abnormal growth (tumor) in your pituitary gland, a gland at the base of your brain that regulates your body's hormone balances. Most pituitary lesions are noncancerous (benign).

Causes

The exact cause of pituitary lesions is unknown. As with all types of tumors, it is caused by the growth of abnormal cells that multiply rapidly.

Risk Factors

Children who have a family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia (Type 1 MEN) are at increased risk for pituitary lesions.

Symptoms

Symptoms of pituitary lesions can be caused by pressure on the pituitary gland or by an excess production of hormones. Symptoms will vary from child to child, but may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Headache
  • Vision problems
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Growth problems
  • Delayed or premature puberty
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bruising
  • Irregular menstrual periods (or lack of menstrual periods)
  • Constipation

Test and Diagnosis

There are several methods that are used for diagnosing pituitary lesions. At Children’s Health℠, all pituitary lesions will be evaluated by a medical endocrinologist and, when appropriate, will also be promptly evaluated by the surgical team.

Treatment

Treatment for pituitary lesions may include:

  • “Watchful waiting:” monitoring your child’s condition, but no initial treatment
  • Surgery to remove the lesion
  • Medications to control hormone levels or shrink the lesion
  • Radiation therapy to destroy the lesion

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