​Hypopituitarism​

Hypopituitarism is a rare disorder in which the pituitary gland produces inadequate amount of hormones or fails to produce one or more hormones. Since the pituitary gland produces hormones that affect nearly all parts of the body, hormone deficiency can have an effect on any of the body’s usual functions such as growth, blood pressure and reproduction. 

Hypopituitarism is often triggered by a tumour on the pituitary gland which suppresses the release of hormones as it damages the pituitary tissues. There are various other causes including head injury, brain tumour, brain surgery, exposure to radiation, stroke, tuberculosis, genetic mutation, excessive loss of blood during childbirth and brain infection.​​

Signs and symptoms for hypopituitarism can occur suddenly, though often they develop over time. At times the symptoms may not be very clear and you may overlook them for a long period of time. Depending on which hormones are deficient and the severity of the deficiency, the symptoms may vary. 

If you believe you may be suffering from hypopituitarism, you may notice the following symptoms: 

  • Fatigue

  • Infertility

  • Anaemia

  • Weight loss

  • Decreased sex drive

  • Sensitivity to cold

  • Decreased appetite

  • Decreased facial or body hair in men

  • Hot flashes, irregular menstrual cycle, loss of pubic hair, and inability to produce milk in women

  • Facial puffiness​

Consult our team medical specialists working with the Internal Medicine Service Line​ at the Aga Khan University Hospital, if you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms.

In case of sudden onset of symptoms along with severe headache, visual disturbance, confusion or drop in blood pressure, visit your doctor immediately. These symptoms could indicate sudden bleeding in the pituitary gland which requires immediate medical attention.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

You may have to undergo various tests to determine the levels of different hormones in your body. In case of recent head injury or radiation therapy that might have damaged your pituitary gland, you doctor will test you for hypopituitarism. These tests may include:

  • Blood test to check the level of hormones such as thyroid, adrenal or sex hormones and to determine whether the hormone deficiency is due to the inadequate hormone production by the pituitary gland

  • Simulation or dynamic testing in which you will be asked to take certain medications that stimulate hormone production. Following this your body’s hormone releasing ability will be tested

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of your brain to detect a pituitary tumour or other structural abnormality

  • Vision test to determine if the growth of pituitary tumour has caused visual impairment.​

Effective and quality treatment provided by your doctor will ensure complete or partial recovery of your body’s ability to produce pituitary hormones. Unfortunately the treatments implemented are often life long as they involve taking medications that are basically drugs that replace the deficient hormones.

Hormone replacement medications may involve:

  • Corticosteroids which are oral drugs to replace the adrenal hormone

  • Levothyroxine which  is a medication to replace the thyroid hormones

  • Sex hormones which include testosterones for men, administered through skin with a patch or gel, and oestrogen or combination of oestrogen and progesterone in women, administered with pills, gels or patches

  • Growth hormones which are taken through an injection beneath the skin

  • LH or FSH (gonadotropins) which are taken through injections to stimulate ovulation in women and sperm production in men, in case of infertility

Once you have been prescribed these medications, your doctor will closely monitor the hormone levels in your blood to ensure that you are receiving adequate but not excessive amounts of these hormones. Your dosage may be adjusted in case you become ill, have surgery or dental procedures, get pregnant or experience drastic changes in weight. You may also require a periodic imaging tests to monitor the cause of hypopituitarism, such as any tumour or other disease.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
 
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.
 
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.


The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.