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What is Hyperpituitarism?

Hyperpituitarism is when your pituitary gland produces an excess of pituitary hormones. Hyperpituitarism can impact many of your body’s functions such as skin pigmentation, puberty, growth, thyroid activity, sexual function, reproduction, and breast milk production in women.

Pituitary disorders are also called pituitary gland disorders or pituitary diseases. Hyperpituitarism is one type of pituitary disorders. There are two types of pituitary diseases. The second type is hypopituitarism, an underproduction of pituitary hormones.


Hyperpituitarism can cause several conditions. The symptoms of hypopituitarism, also called pituitary disorder symptoms, vary by condition.

Galactorrhea or prolactinoma symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Infertility
  • Reproductive issues
  • Tenderness in breasts
  • Irregular menstruation
  • No menstruation

Another symptom of prolactinoma is unexpected breast milk production in non-pregnant women. Rarely, men will also produce breast milk.

Cushing Disease symptoms:

  • Fragile bones
  • Increased facial hair
  • Bruising
  • Weight gain
  • Purplish stretch marks

Hyperthyroidism symptoms:

  • Weak muscles
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Nervousness

Acromegaly symptoms:

  • Stretch marks
  • Headaches
  • Abnormal periods
  • Large tongue
  • Severe sweating
  • Body odor
  • Large hands
  • Large feet
  • Joint discomfort
  • Restricted movement
  • Skin tags
  • Husky voice
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Enlarged chest

An enlarged chest is known as a “barrel chest.”


Hyperpituitarism is usually caused by a pituitary tumor. When tumors grow, they sometimes severely press against the pituitary gland, injuring the tissue. Non-cancerous pituitary tumors are the most common cause of both types of pituitary disorders.

When these tumors grow, they force the pituitary gland to malfunction by producing a surplus of certain hormones. These hormones affect reproduction, metabolism, growth, and other body processes that keep you healthy.


A diagnosis for hyperpituitarism might include a combination of tests: blood tests, oral glucose tolerance tests, stimulation tests, and various forms of brain imaging scans. A diagnosis usually follows analysis of the test results.

Hyperpituitarism and pituitary disorder diagnosis tests:

  • Blood tests — these tests measure hormone levels.
  • Oral glucose tolerance tests — these tests measure your blood sugar level.
  • Stimulation tests — these tests combine with medications to measure hormone levels in your body. Stimulation tests are also called dynamic testing.
  • Brain imaging — computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can determine the presence of tumors.


Treatment for Hyperpituitarism varies by the condition it causes in your body.

Common pituitary disorder treatments:

  • Hormone Replacement — certain medications can help shrink tumors and normalize the production of pituitary hormones.
  • Radiation therapy — radiation attacks tumors, including pituitary tumors.
  • Surgery — surgeons remove pituitary gland tumors.

Along with medication, radiation, and surgery, ongoing monitoring is part of hyperpituitarism treatment. Your doctor will evaluate your hormone levels, reaction to treatments, and adjust treatment as needed.

If you or your loved ones experience any of the symptoms of hyperpituitarism, please contact an endocrinologist at Baptist Health.

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