(PHP; Underactive Pituitary Gland)


The pituitary gland is found at the base of the brain. It produces several important hormones that control the production of other hormones made by glands in the body. In panhypopituitarism, the gland produces an insufficient amount of hormones.
Pituitary Gland
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


This condition is most often caused by damage to the gland. In adults, it is usually a result of pituitary surgery. In children, damage to the pituitary gland may be caused by:
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Genetic factors
  • Tumor on or near the pituitary gland
  • Cancer that has spread
  • Injury
In some cases, the cause may be unknown.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of panhypopituitarism include:


Compression of the Tumor

Compression of the tumor on local structures, especially the nerves of the eyes, can cause:
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of visual field
  • Poor temperature control

Insufficient Hormones

  • Insufficient levels of gonadotropins can cause:
    • In premenopausal women—missed menstrual cycles, infertility , osteoporosis , vaginal dryness, loss or reduction in female characteristics
    • In men—impotence, reduced size of testes, decreased production of sperm, infertility , breast enlargement, reduced muscle mass, loss or reduction in male characteristics like beard growth
  • Insufficient levels of growth hormone can cause:
    • In children—stunted growth or dwarfism
    • In adults—weakness, obesity , reduced cardiac output, low blood sugar levels, and reduced exercise tolerance
  • Insufficient levels of thyroid-stimulating hormones can lead to:
    • Underactive thyroid , which causes confusion, hair loss, weakness, slow heart rate, muscle stiffness, intolerance to cold, constipation , weight gain, and dry skin.
  • Insufficient corticotrophic levels can lead to:
    • Underactive adrenal gland, which causes low blood pressure, low blood sugar , fatigue, weight loss, vomiting, and low stress tolerance (this can be life-threatening).
  • Excessive prolactin levels can cause:
    • In women—missed periods, infertility, and milk secretion
    • In men—reduced facial and body hair, small testes
  • Insufficient antidiuretic hormone (rare) can cause:
    • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
    • Night-time urination

leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals

Music May Improve Sleep Quality in Adults with Insomnia
October 2015

Insomnia can make your days miserable and a cure can be hard to find. There are some medications but there is some worry with side effects and the potential for addiction. Music is side effect free and according to this study may help you find sleep.

dot separator
previous editions

CPAP May Help Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
September 2015

Water Before Meals May Promote Weight Loss
August 2015

Fecal Transplants Induce Ulcerative Colitis Remission
July 2015

dashed separator


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »