Not all pituitary tumors cause symptoms. But those that do can cause different kinds of symptoms.
Pituitary tumors that make too many hormones (functional) cause symptoms linked to the hormone they produce.
Pituitary tumors that don’t make too many hormones (nonfunctional) can grow large (macroadenomas). They cause symptoms because they press on nearby nerves and other areas.
Large noncancer and cancerous pituitary tumors may press on nerves or parts of the brain. This can cause the following symptoms:
Double or blurred vision
Loss of side (peripheral) vision
Sudden loss of sight
Numbness or pain in the face
These types of tumors may also press on and damage parts of the pituitary gland. This can reduce the amount of pituitary hormones. This may lead to symptoms such as:
Upset stomach (nausea)
Unwanted weight loss or gain
Loss of menstrual periods
Men having problems keeping an erection (impotence)
Less interest in sex
Functional pituitary tumors can cause different symptoms, based on the excess hormone they make.
Symptoms caused by having too much GH are different in children than in adults. For children, symptoms include:
Pain in joints
Too much sweating
Being abnormally tall (gigantism)
Over time, adults with tumors that cause high GH levels may have the following symptoms:
Increase in hat, shoe, or ring size caused by growth of head, hands, or feet
Change in facial structure
High blood pressure
Pituitary tumors that make the hormone ACTH cause the adrenal glands to make too many steroid hormones. This may lead to the following symptoms:
Weight gain, often in the belly
Purple stretch marks on the belly
A hump of fat on the back of the neck
Abnormal growth of body hair
A round, swollen face
Weak, brittle bones (osteoporosis)
High blood sugar levels
Irregular or absent menstrual periods in women
Other more rare kinds of pituitary tumors cause other symptoms. If you have any abnormal symptoms, see your healthcare provider.
Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. But it is important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have a pituitary tumor or pituitary cancer.