Expert Care for Children with Pituitary Gland Disorders
University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s endocrinology specialist team is uniquely positioned to care for children and adolescents with pituitary gland problems. We draw from deep knowledge of the latest techniques and use a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to manage this powerful player in the endocrine system
Located at the base of the brain, the pituitary gland is only the size of a pea, but it is often called “the master gland of the body” due to its reach and ability to impact overall health. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained endocrinologists understand its influence and work with patients and families to proactively stay one step ahead of concerns that may arise. It is our goal to equip you and your child with the knowledge needed to effectively manage pituitary gland disorders that lead to the best outcomes for a happy, healthy life.
Pituitary Gland Tumors: A Better Treatment Approach
The most common issues related to the pituitary gland are associated with tumors. Pituitary gland tumors often go undiagnosed due to lack of symptoms. Approximately 25 percent of people have small pituitary tumors without knowing it. While most pituitary tumors are not cancerous, pituitary tumor symptoms can wreak havoc on the body by causing hormones to be over-produced or under-produced. For instance, in the case of over-production, not only are pituitary gland hormones impacted but also each of the other hormones produced by glands that receive signals from pituitary gland.
Our team of pediatric endocrinologists is skilled in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of pituitary tumors. With a comprehensive approach, the endocrinology team of specialists includes pediatric nurses, dieticians, social workers and others who walk alongside your child and family in a caring supportive way.
Children and adolescents who come to UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s can expect to receive a personalized approach that ensures the highest level of pituitary tumor treatment success. Our team of pediatric specialists will collaborate with family members and patients to choose the best approach to treating a pituitary tumor. Some treatments that will be considered include:
- Pituitary tumor surgery, often the best option for small tumors
- External radiation, an approach that uses high levels of radiation to destroy cancer cells
- Radiosurgery or a gamma knife procedure treatment, a one-session treatment to remove a tumor using one high dose of radiation
- Medication, to control production of growth hormones
Types of Pituitary Tumors We Treat
At UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s, we treat a full range of pituitary tumors. From the most common to the more complex, some of the main types of pituitary tumors we treat include:
- Nonfunctional adenomas (null cell adenomas): The most common tumor of the pituitary gland, nonfunctional adenomas create hormones of their own and typically do not produce pituitary gland tumor symptoms until they reach a certain size. When the tumor is big enough, it may cause headaches and vision problems or crush normal pituitary cells, which can lead to decreased hormone production.
- Prolactin-producing tumors (prolactinomas): A non-cancerous tumor, prolactin-producing tumors result in overproduction of hormones that impact the frequency of an adolescent’s menstrual period or cause a young girl to produce breastmilk, even if she is not pregnant or nursing. Too much prolactin can lead to erectile dysfunction in young men or cause breast enlargement, a low sperm count or less body hair.
- ACTH-producing tumors: ACTH tumors (adrenocorticotropic hormone) stimulate the adrenal gland to make glucocorticoids—steroids that affect metabolism. Too much ACTH can cause Cushing's disease, a disorder associated with fat buildup in the face, neck, back, belly and chest. People with Cushing’s disease may also have thin arms and legs, purple stretch marks, weaker bones and high blood pressure.
- Growth hormone-producing tumors: An overabundance of growth hormone stimulates the growth of almost all the bones in the body and can result in gigantism - a disorder characterized by very quick growth, joint pain and heavy sweating. People with gigantism may reach over 7 feet.
An Uncommon Pituitary Gland Disorders Treatment Experience
The endocrinology specialists at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s are setting a new standard of care – one that is built on cutting-edge industry best practices and collaboration. We partner with patients and families 24/7 to address the complexities of pituitary gland disorders in a proactive way to ensure optimal health and outcomes. We make it convenient, too, with multiple locations across northeast Ohio, improving access for patients to our specialty care.