Non-functioning pituitary adenoma

Non-functioning pituitary adenoma


What do you know about pituitary tumors?

How many types of pituitary adenomas are there?

What are non-functional pituitary adenomas?

If you want to know more about pituitary adenoma, we recommend that you read our article below.




It is not clear what causes pituitary tumors. Over the years, many studies have been conducted to identify the causes that make a person prone to developing a pituitary tumor.

Pituitary adenomas are divided into functional and non-functional adenomas, and the problems that functional adenomas cause are due to the hormones they release.

non-functional pituitary adenomas, on the other hand, often become very large before they are diagnosed, that is, they are known as macroadenomas.  

These tumors have no symptoms and do not secrete hormones unless they put pressure on nearby nerves or nearby tissues due to their size.

In the following, we want to read more about non-functional pituitary adenomas.



What you will read next:



Pituitary adenomas and their types

Epidemiology of non-functional pituitary tumors

What causes pituitary dysfunction?




Measures after treatment of non-functional pituitary adenomas




The pituitary gland is one of the most important endocrine glands in the body. Control of the function and activity and hormonal secretions of many vital endocrine glands in the body is in the hands of this small pituitary gland.

Pituitary adenomas are disorders of the pituitary gland. Functional adenomas secrete excess hormone and interfere with the body's function.

We also have non-functional adenomas that do not cause any changes in hormone levels, but become so large that they put pressure on the pituitary gland, on the tissues adjacent to the brain, and even on the adjacent nerves, causing symptoms due to their compressive effects.

In general, the first clinical manifestation of pituitary tumors depends on whether they are functional and secrete excess hormone.

The pituitary gland is a small gland in the lower part of the brain that secretes certain substances into the bloodstream, thus controlling the functions of other important glands in the body and is one of the most important glands in the body.

In the pituitary gland, most pituitary tumors are benign tumors called adenomas.


Pituitary adenomas and their types

Adenomas of the pituitary gland remain confined to the gland and do not spread to other parts of the body.

Pituitary adenomas are divided into two groups:

  1. Functional adenomas: They produce hormones.
  2. Non-Functional adenomas: They do not produce at all and only slightly increase in volume.

Pituitary adenomas, if they are about one centimeter or more in size, are called macroadenomas. Types smaller than one centimeter are called microadenomas, and most nonfunctional adenomas are macroadenomas.

Many of these nonfunctional adenomas, when they grow, are accidentally detected on imaging of the head and neck for other reasons and have no symptoms of their own.

Unless due to their size they have put pressure on the nerves adjacent to the brain tissue and pituitary tissue.

Other Tumors may be present in the pituitary gland, which is very rare, and their surgical procedure will be similar to normal pituitary adenomas.

Non-functional pituitary adenomas are the most common pituitary tumors that develop. They do not produce excess hormone. The patient will not notice the symptoms of hormonal changes. Non-functional pituitary adenomas are usually more than one centimeter in size, and as they grow, these macroadenomas, with their change in size, can put pressure on nearby tissues and nearby nerves.

When pressure is applied to nearby structures, symptoms occur, including headache, optic nerve impairment, and impaired vision.

Tumors that are larger can even damage normal pituitary cells and show signs of decreased hormone production.


Epidemiology of non-functional pituitary tumors

These tumors are actually the second most common cause of intra-pituitary tumors after prolactinoma and have a prevalence of about 7 to 3.40 percent per 100,000 population.

These non-functional adenomas are common during pregnancy and their peak incidence is from 40 to 80 years old.


What causes non-functional pituitary adenomas?

It is not yet clear what the main cause of adenomas in the pituitary gland is. It is said that there may be unknown factors that have not yet been identified, and experts say that there may be genetic reasons that accelerate this event.

But a small percentage of pituitary adenomas and tumors are inherited in a family, and most adenomas have no known genetic or even environmental evidence and may be due to an accident during cell division.



non-functional adenomas can have one or more of the following symptoms:

Basically, these adenomas are benign and do not secrete hormones, they may just increase in size, and basically macroadenomas are detected in imaging done for a variety of other reasons. If it has grown too much, it puts pressure on the adjacent healthy brain tissue or adjacent pituitary tissue and damages them, and this is when the clinical symptoms appear:

  • By affecting healthy pituitary cells, the secretion of hormones from these cells is reduced, and thus the symptoms of reduced production and secretion of pituitary hormones may occur, such as decreased growth hormone and thus developmental defects in children.
  • Secondary hypogonadism and Puberty disorder
  • Decreased and lack of sexual desire
  • Irregularities or lack of menstrual cycle
  • sterility
  • And low cortisol levels
  • Weakness, fatigue, and sensitivity to cold. Hypothyroidism. Weight loss or unexplained weight gain. Personality changes. diabetes insipidus due to ADH deficiency. Frequent urination, excessive thirst for water, progressive vision loss and general deficiency of some hormones in the body



When a person presents with symptoms of a general deficiency in various endocrine hormones in the body, the doctor may suspect that there may be a Non-functional pituitary macroadenoma, so he or she will obviously request specific laboratory tests to evaluate the hormones.

Once the adenoma has been diagnosed, other methods may be needed to examine the details of the adenoma, such as its connection to the optic nerve and other parts of the pituitary gland.

People with progressive vision disorders due to nonfunctional pituitary adenomas are referred for special vision tests to check their symptoms.

We strongly recommend that you seek immediate referral for chronic progressive headaches and progressive vision loss.



There is no known way to kill these adenomas. There are very limited reports of dopamine drug agonists being used orally to reduce the size of these non-functional adenomas, but unfortunately this effect only works in a small group of people.

If hormones are reduced before surgery, medications are needed to compensate for this hormone deficiency.

Of course, these hormones have nothing to do with shrinking the pituitary adenoma, they only compensate for the lack of hormones.

Small tumors usually undergo regular follow-up sessions without surgery. Large and non-functional adenoma tumors require surgery so that the tumor does not put more pressure on the surrounding tissue.

When surgery is successful, it can improve a person's vision and prevent new vision problems from getting worse, but you may need hormone replacement therapy.

After surgery, it is recommended to re-evaluate the status of the body's hormones so that hormone replacement can be performed at the appropriate dose if necessary.

Radiation therapy may be another treatment for a non-functional pituitary adenoma.

If the nonfunctional pituitary macroadenoma is large, it may put pressure on the surrounding structures, such as the carotid arteries and optic nerve. In these cases, surgery alone cannot remove the entire tumor, so radiotherapy is often needed to shrink the adenoma.


Measures after treatment of dysfunctional pituitary adenomas

All types of pituitary adenomas, whether functional or non-functional, are possible to recur at any time, which is why the sufferer needs regular visits by a doctor and surgeon to make sure they do not recur, and also has to have a brain MRI every year.

And maintain at least this annual sequence for the first five years after surgery.

Thus, with these regular follow-ups and proper surgery and hormone replacement, a person can have a healthy life.

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