The pituitary gland is a tiny organ, at the base of brain. It acts as the master controller of the body; producing hormones related to the growth and maturity, obesity and metabolism, hemodynamic control and water homeostasis. It is regulated by the hypothalamus, which is a part of the brain, that responds to a number of hormonal and nerve signals from the surroundings and from the rest of the body. Along with this, the hypothalamus potentially controls all body systems. A pituitary disease is a disorder chiefly affecting the pituitary gland. These disorders are caused due to the too little or too much hormone secretion by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland produces or stores different hormones. The hormones made in the anterior of the pituitary gland are:
• Prolactin: It stimulates breast milk production after delivery and also regulates the sex hormone level and fertility in both men and women.
• Growth hormone (GH) - stimulates growth in childhood and maintains the body composition in adults.
• Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) - stimulates the cortisol production in the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a stress hormone which is essential for our survival. It aids in maintaining blood pressure and sugar levels and is produced when we are under stress.
• Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) – the thyroid gland is stimulated by TSH to produce thyroid hormones. It is mainly intended for the whole body metabolism, growth, energy balance and nervous system development.
• Luteinizing hormone (LH) - stimulates egg release (ovulation) in women and testosterone production in men
• Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – stimulates ovaries for the estrogen production and promotes sperm production. Both FSH and LH work together to provide the normal function of testis and ovaries.
The hormones stored in the posterior of the pituitary gland are:
• Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) – regulates the water level in the body by decreasing the water lost in the urine.
• Oxytocin – increases the milk flow from the breast of breastfeeding women and also facilitates labour.
The most common pituitary disorder is a neoplasm (tumour), which is seen in about as much as 1 in 10 adults. But clinically significant problem arises in a few only. Injuries, bleeding in the pituitary and certain medications are the other conditions that can affect the pituitary gland.