Pituitary tumors usually don't grow or spread extensively. However, they can adversely affect your health, possibly causing:

  • Vision loss. A pituitary tumor can put pressure on the optic nerves, which are close to your pituitary gland, and cause loss of vision.
  • Permanent hormone deficiency. The presence of a pituitary tumor or the removal of one may permanently alter your hormone supply, which may need to be replaced with hormone medications.
  • Diabetes insipidus. This is a possible complication of a large pituitary tumor or of some treatments for pituitary tumors. Not to be confused with the more common diabetes mellitus, which involves high sugar levels in the blood and urine, diabetes insipidus is the result of the pituitary making too little vasopressin, which controls the concentration of urine in the kidneys. Diabetes insipidus causes excess amounts of urine and severe thirst, which can lead to dehydration.

A rare but potentially serious complication of a pituitary tumor is pituitary apoplexy, when sudden bleeding into the tumor occurs. Pituitary apoplexy requires emergency treatment, usually with corticosteroids and possibly surgery.

Nov. 14, 2012

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.