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:
- Weight loss
- Decreased sex drive
- Sensitivity to cold or difficulty staying warm
- Decreased appetite
- Facial puffiness
- 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 immediately if 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.
May. 17, 2013
- Generalized hypopituitarism. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec12/ch151/ch151c.html. Accessed Feb. 22, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Feb. 22, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Feb. 22, 2013.
- Appelman-Dijkstra NM, et al. Pituitary dysfunction in adult patients after cranial radiotherapy: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2011;96:2330.
- Toogood AA, et al. Hypopituitarism: Clinical features, diagnosis and management. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America. 2008;37:235.