If your doctor suspects a pituitary disorder, he or she will likely order several tests to check levels of various hormones in your body. Your doctor may also want to check for hypopituitarism if you've had a recent head injury or radiation treatment that might have put you at risk of damage to your pituitary gland.
Tests your doctor may order include:
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- Blood tests. They can help detect deficits in hormones as a result of pituitary failure. For example, blood tests can identify low levels of thyroid, adrenal or sex hormones, and can determine if these low levels are associated with inadequate pituitary hormone production.
- Stimulation or dynamic testing. Your doctor may suggest you go to a specialized endocrine clinic for these tests, which check your body's secretion of hormones after you've taken certain medications that can stimulate hormone production.
- Brain imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your brain can detect a pituitary tumor or other structural abnormality.
- Vision tests. These tests can determine if growth of a pituitary tumor has impaired your sight or visual fields.
- 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.
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