Hypopituitarism is a rare disorder in which your pituitary gland either fails to produce one or more of its hormones or doesn't produce enough of them.

The pituitary is a small bean-shaped gland situated at the base of your brain, behind your nose and between your ears. Despite its size, this gland secretes hormones that influence nearly every part of your body.

In hypopituitarism, you have a short supply of one or more of these pituitary hormones. This deficiency can affect any number of your body's routine functions, such as growth, blood pressure and reproduction.

You'll likely need medications for the rest of your life to treat hypopituitarism, but your symptoms can be controlled.

Symptoms Causes

Hypopituitarism is often progressive. Although the signs and symptoms can occur suddenly, they more often develop gradually. They are sometimes subtle and may be overlooked for months or even years.

Signs and symptoms of hypopituitarism vary, depending on which pituitary hormones are deficient and how severe the deficiency is. They may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Sensitivity to cold or difficulty staying warm
  • Decreased appetite
  • Facial puffiness
  • Anemia
  • Infertility
  • Hot flashes, irregular or no periods, loss of pubic hair, and inability to produce milk for breast-feeding in women
  • Decreased facial or body hair in men
  • Short stature in children

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you develop signs and symptoms associated with hypopituitarism.

Contact your doctor immediatelyif certain signs or symptoms of hypopituitarism develop suddenly — a severe headache, visual disturbances, confusion or a drop in blood pressure. Such signs and symptoms could represent sudden bleeding into the pituitary gland (pituitary apoplexy), which requires prompt medical attention.

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