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Pituitary Tumor Symptoms

Man pressing his hand against his forehead and eyes
Persistent headaches and blurred vision are common symptoms of a pituitary tumor.

People with a benign or cancerous pituitary tumor may have any or all of the following symptoms. These could also be the sign of other problems. A person who has any of these symptoms should see his or her doctor:

  • Double or blurred vision

  • Loss of ability to see out of the sides of the eyes (loss of peripheral vision)

  • Sudden loss of sight

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Numbness or pain in the face

  • Loss of consciousness

Other symptoms can include nausea, weakness, unwanted weight loss or gain, loss of menstrual periods, impotence, and loss of interest in sex.

Pituitary tumors that affect hormones may cause a variety of symptoms, which are related to high hormone levels and production. These symptoms will be different in children than in adults. Growth hormone-secreting adenomas in children may cause:

  • Rapid growth

  • Pain in joints

  • Excessive sweating

  • Being very tall (known as gigantism)

Over several years, adults with growth hormone-secreting adenomas may experience the following symptoms:

  • Increase in hat, shoe, or ring size caused by growth of skull, hands, or feet

  • Deepening of voice

  • Change in facial structure

  • Joint pain

  • Excessive sweating

  • Headache

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Kidney stones

  • High blood pressure

Pituitary adenomas that make the hormone corticotropin cause the adrenal glands to overproduce hormones and may cause:

  • Weight gain, especially in the abdomen

  • Large purple stretch marks

  • A hump that forms at the back of the neck where it meets the upper back

  • Abnormal growth of body hair

  • A round, swollen face 

Other more rare kinds of pituitary tumors cause other symptoms. It is important for anyone who is experiencing any unusual symptoms to see a doctor.

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Moloney Johns, Amanda, PA-C, MPAS, BBA
Date Last Reviewed: 11/24/2013
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.
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