Traumatic brain injury or head trauma can cause pituitary hormone deficiency,

 Recent studies indicate “that one or more pituitary hormones may be affected by traumatic brain injury or...

subarachnoid hemorrhage,” according to Flora Hammond, M.D. and Rhona Shapiro, R.N., M.S.N.

skull.jpgWhat is the Pituitary?
The pituitary is a small gland located at the base of the brain.  Pituitary hormones regulate other hormones, which are chemical “messengers” that hone in on vital organs and functions.


Diagnosing hormone deficiency can be a challenge due to the similarity between symptoms of a deficiency and the effects of head trauma.  Often patients do not recognize the signs of pituitary hormone deficiency until they undergo specific tests to determine hormone levels. 

Those with mild brain trauma are less likely to suffer from pituitary hormone deficiency than those who have moderate to severe brain injury.  It is important to note that problems can result even years after the actual injury. The hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and blood supply function may have suffered damage, resulting in pituitary hormone problems.


Signs of Pituitary Hormone Deficiency

When the pituitary gland is experiencing a deficiency of one or more regulating hormones, the following may occur:                                                                                                        

•    fatigue, weakness, depression, irritability, impaired memory, reduced libido.

Hypopituitarism, a condition caused by a damaged pituitary gland, means that there is a deficiency in one or more of the pituitary hormones produced.

Thyroid stimulating hormone deficiency may result in:

•    lethargy            
•    decreased appetite
•    slowed growth or metabolism
•    reduced energy or memory
•    numbness in extremities
•    dry skin or hair
•    muscle aches
•    altered mood
•    failure to thrive

 Adrenocortical stimulating hormone deficiency is associated with:

•    fatigue, weakness
•    weight loss
•    decreased bone mass
•    reduced exercise capacity
•    increased body fat
•    electrolyte abnormalities
•    low blood pressure

Growth hormone deficiency may cause:

•    fatigue
•    depression
•    decreased bone density
•    decreased muscle mass
•    increased fat around the waist
•    high cholesterol levels


Sex hormone deficiency in males is linked to:                                                                                                                                       

•    decreased sperm production
•    decreased sex drive
•    loss of facial hair growth
•    decreased muscle mass
•    decreased energy

Sex hormone deficiency in females may contribute to:

•    amenorrhea
•    infertility
•    decreased muscle mass
•    decreased energy

Would you like to check your pituitary hormone levels?  Use a home-testing kit to accurately and easily determine your hormone levels.   When testing for pituitary disorders, the main objectives are to determine if there is too much or too little hormone production and to deduce the cause and level of severity of the condition.

Jennifer Cebulak

Research Editor