Non-functioning tumour

By far the most common type of tumour of the pituitary gland (about half of all cases) is the 'non-functioning' tumour. This is a tumour which does not produce any hormones itself.

It can cause headaches and visual problems or it can press on the pituitary gland, causing it to stop producing the required amount of one or more of the pituitary hormones, leading to hypopituitarism.

Typical symptoms

  • excessive tiredness and decreased energy
  • muscle weakness
  • reduced body hair
  • irregular periods (Oligomenorrhoea) or loss of normal menstrual function (Amenorrhoea) - females
  • impotence - males
  • reduced fertility
  • decrease in sex drive
  • weight gain
  • increased sensitivity to cold
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • pale appearance
  • low blood pressure and dizziness on standing (postural hypotension)
  • headaches
  • vision disturbance
  • Diabetes Insipidus

Each of the symptoms described above occur in response to the loss of one or more of the hormones produced by the pituitary. Decrease in the production of only one hormone would not lead to all the symptoms described above.