What is Hypopituitarism (MPHD)
Hypopituitarism is a term used to describe a condition where the pituitary gland is not producing enough of one or more of the hormones it secretes. If two or more of the hormones are not being produced in sufficient quantities, the condition is also known as Multiple Pituitary Hormone Deficiency (MPHD). The pituitary gland produces eight hormones which are released into the body to control other glands. These hormones include:
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and cortisol, the hormone associated with the body’s fright and flight response.
- The gonadotrophins – follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH)
- Adrenal-stimulating hormone (ACTH) is much less frequently involved, but the deficiency of this hormone is extremely important to detect.
If the pituitary gland is failing to produce sufficient quantities of all the hormones it produces, the condition is known as Panhypopituitarism.
Why does it occur?
The exact reason for most occurances of Hypopituitarism (MPHD) is not known, therefore they are known as an idiopathic conditions. It is not inherited and can either be present at birth or develop later in childhood.
The pituitary gland is located in the base of the brain and is responsible for producing various hormones including the one for growth. It may not have developed properly during birth which could explain the low hormone levels being produced, or it may have been affected after birth through head injury, tumours or some treatments for other conditions such as radiotherpay and surgery.
How is Hypopituitarism (MPHD) diagnosed?
The diagnosis is confirmed by measuring the level of growth hormone production in response to a stimulation test, which generally requires a morning in hospital.
Hypopituitarism (MPHD) can also be diagnosed through a blood test to check various hormone levels and it can be identified through MRI scan to check any damage to the pituitary gland.
Signs & Symptoms
The symptoms of Hypopituitarism (MPHD) include the short stature associated with the reduction in growth hormone, hypothyroidism which can produce lethargy and weight gain. The Cortisol deficiency can increase the susceptibility to infections and cause a delay to, and even absence of, puberty.
Treatment & Support
Hypopituitarism (MPHD) is treated through replacing the elements the body is failing to produce. This can mean a combination regular injections of growth hormone, thyroxine (to replace the absent thyroid-stimulating hormone) and cortisone to replace the absence of adrenal-stimulating hormone). And if gonadotrophin deficiency becomes apparent at the time of puberty (which is usually late in growth hormone deficient children), then sex hormones have to be given to initiate sexual maturation.
Please consider calling our helpline for support and advice, we can also help put you in touch with other families with the same condition. We also have members of our Facebook Group who may be able to help you.
Facebook Support Group
The CGF run a number of closed Facebook groups, providing peer support for people directly affected by growth conditions, their parents, family and friends. These groups are a fantastic support tool. Click the image below to find the Hypopituitarism (MPHD) Facebook group.
The BSPED Paediatric Steroid Treatment Card for Adrenal Insufficiency provides a succinct steroid management plan for illnesses, emergency injections and blood sugar & electrolyte correction.
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