Pituitary Innovation and Teaching

Pituitary tumours: Types of tumours and symptoms

Non-functioning tumours (adenomas)

Non-functioning tumours are different from the functioning tumours described above. Non-functioning tumours do not make hormones. They are usually found during tests for headaches or loss of vision. These tumours tend to be larger than functioning tumours. They may continue to grow, press on the normal gland and cause the pituitary gland to stop making some or all hormones. This is called hypopituitarism.

Hypopituitarism can cause:

  • low energy levels; tiredness
  • dizziness
  • nausea and loss of appetite
  • feeling very cold
  • constipation
  • weight gain or loss
  • slowness of thought
  • loss of menstrual periods in women; loss of sexual function in men

The treatment for hypopituitarism is to give the patient back the hormones they are lacking.


A craniopharyngioma is a rare non-cancerous tumour that develops above or in the pituitary gland. This type of tumour can cause headaches, vision problems, hypopituitarism, memory loss and ┬áreduced growth. Having a craniopharyngioma can also make the patient very thirsty and want to urinate more (this is called “diabetes insipidus”). Treatment for a craniopharyngioma is to remove the tumour with surgery and sometimes with radiation.



Page last updated: Novmeber 22, 2016