What Are the Symptoms of Pituitary Adenomas?

A pituitary adenoma is a benign (noncancerous) tumor that grows in the pituitary gland, a small gland in the skull that plays a key role in hormone production. Hormones are substances that control many delicate bodily functions and help keep the body in balance. If a tumor disrupts the function of the pituitary gland, a broad spectrum of symptoms may occur.

Nonfunctioning vs. functioning pituitary adenomas

To better understand the symptoms of pituitary adenomas, it may be helpful to first review how these tumors are classified. If a pituitary adenoma does not produce hormones, it is referred to as nonfunctioning. These adenomas usually don’t cause noticeable symptoms and are typically identified only after imaging tests are performed for an unrelated reason. In other cases, nonfunctioning adenomas may grow and begin to press against the brain or optic nerves, potentially causing blurred vision or vision loss.

The other type of pituitary adenoma is a functioning adenoma. These tumors produce hormones and can cause imbalances that may lead to a wide array of unpleasant symptoms. Depending on what specific hormone is overproduced, the symptoms of a functioning adenoma may include:

  • Unexplained weight gain, particularly in the chest, back, face or stomach
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Vision problems
  • Diabetes
  • Increased sweating
  • Headaches
  • Changes in facial appearance
  • Easy bruising
  • Osteoporosis
  • Infertility
  • A deepened voice
  • A growing skull, hands or feet
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression or anxiety

Pituitary adenoma treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center

A national leader in cancer treatment, Moffitt Cancer Center also provides specialized treatment and supportive care to patients with benign conditions like pituitary adenomas. To speak with a physician in our Endocrine Program, submit a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488 to request an appointment.