Diagnosing Pituitary and Skull Base Tumors at the UPMC Pituitary Center

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history, and will perform a physical exam.

Pituitary Tumor Symptoms

Symptoms of a pituitary tumor may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Unexplained changes in weight
  • Growth of skull, hands, and feet
  • Changes in facial appearance, including wider spacing of teeth
  • Anxiety, nervousness, moodiness, or depression
  • Problems with eyesight, such as double or blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, or sudden blindness
  • Irregular menstrual cycles (women)
  • Erectile dysfunction (men)

Complications of Pituitary Tumors

Complications may include:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney stones
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Thyroid disease

Tests for Diagnosing Pituitary Tumors

To make the diagnosis, your doctor may order various types of tests and procedures.

  • Blood and urine tests will measure your hormone levels and blood sugar values. These tests can identify other conditions that might cause your symptoms, and therefore rule out a pituitary adenoma.
  • Inferior petrosal sinus sampling may be performed. In this test, small tubes are guided in the veins from your groin to the pituitary gland to collect blood on each side. These samples then are tested to confirm whether the pituitary gland is the source of the hormonal disease.
  • An MRI or CT scan of your head may be used to look for a tumor in your pituitary gland.

You also may be referred to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in diseases of the endocrine glands and the hormones those glands produce.

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