Hypopituitarism in Children | Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Posted: July 12, 2018 at 6:42 pm

Hypopituitarism is a condition in which the pituitary gland in the brain is not working properly. Normally, the pituitary gland produces hormones some of which affect growth, blood pressure, blood sugar and other body processes. Effects of hypopituitarism may be gradual, or sudden and dramatic.

Hypopituitarism, in children, is often caused by a benign (noncancerous) pituitary tumor, an injury, an autoimmune process, or an infection. Often, no exact cause can be determined.

Symptoms vary depending on what hormones are insufficiently producedfrom the pituitary gland. The symptoms of hypopituitarism may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult yourdoctor for a diagnosis. Common symptoms include:

Small penis in males

Very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

Slowed growth and short stature

Slowed sexual development

Prolonged jaundice at birth

Poor appetite

Weight loss or weight gain

Sensitivity to cold

Facial puffiness

The symptoms of several underactive glands may help your child'sdoctor diagnose hypopituitarism. In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for hypopituitarism may include:

Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan).A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to producehorizontal, or axial,images (often called slices)of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

Blood tests. Blood tests are used to measure hormone levels.

Bone X-rays of the hand. X-rays of the left hand and wrist willdetermine bone age, which is often delayed compared with chronologic age inchildren with hypopituitarism..

Specific treatment for hypopituitarism will be determined by your child'sdoctor based on:

Your child's age, overall health, and medical history

Extent of the disease

Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

Expectations for the course of the disease

Your opinion or preference

Treatment of hypopituitarism depends on its cause. The goal of treatment is to restore the pituitary gland to normal function, producing normal levels of hormones. Treatment may include specific hormone replacement therapy, surgical tumor removal, and/or radiation therapy.

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Hypopituitarism in Children | Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

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