What is it?

The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland secretes growth hormone, adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH), follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) , luteinizing hormone (LH) and TSH. There are disorders that include both under and over secretion of these hormones:
1. Growth hormone deficiency (GHD)- results in dwarfism, which is short stature defined as an adult height of fewer than 4 feet 10 inches, or 147 centimetres. Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) may be present at birth or develop later in life.
2. ACTH deficiency causes the adrenals not to make enough cortisol, which could be a life-threatening condition.
3. Gonadotropin deficiency- low FSH and LH may result in failure of puberty.
4. TSH deficiency causes hypothyroidism- not enough TSH is produced to stimulate the thyroid hormone.
Disorders of over-production are rare and may result from overactive cells:
1. Growth hormone overproduction may result in gigantism and acromegaly.
2. ACTH overproduction may result in Cushing’s disease from high levels of stress hormone.

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Signs & symptoms

In kids with a growth hormone deficiency, limbs are all short as well as the head and trunk. These kids will grow slower and less than expected and may have delayed or no sexual development during adolescence. Headaches may also be a symptom. In ACTH deficiency symptoms may include low blood pressure, weakness, dehydration, abdominal pain, weight loss, and difficulty in recovering from illnesses or surgeries. TSH deficiency may include symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, dry skin, brittle hair, poor growth, feeling cold all the time, and disruptions to normal periods in girls. Overproduction of growth hormone may present with headaches and vision changes, very rapid growth, coarsening facial features, enlargement of hands and feet, and high blood sugars. Hyperprolactinemia may result in a delay in puberty, a disruption of normal periods in females, and a milky discharge from the nipples. Overproduction of ACTH may cause weight gain, slowing of height gain, high blood pressure, high sugars, weakness and irritability.


Diagnosis is based upon findings from medical history and physical examination. Further evaluation may include blood and urine tests, an MRI of the brain, and ACTH stimulation tests.


Treatment depends on the specific disease. For overproduction disease, treatment may include a medication that slows the pituitary down, surgical or radiation treatment. For pituitary deficiencies, there are hormone replacement therapies, corticosteroids, sex hormones, and thyroid hormone replacement.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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