WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Hypopituitarism is a condition where your pituitary gland does not make enough hormones for your body. The pituitary gland is an almond-shaped organ found under the middle part of your brain. Hormones are special chemicals that flow through your blood and control functions of your organs. Your body needs certain amounts of each different hormone to function well. When you lack hormones, you may have mood changes, and your organs and tissues may not function correctly. You may get tired easily, feel weak, and have a greater risk of having heart problems. Males may have problems getting their female partner pregnant. Females may have problems with menstruation and trouble getting pregnant and having babies.
- Your caregiver will ask about any health problems, accidents, or injuries you may have had in the past. You may need blood and urine tests, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and hormone challenge tests. You may be given hormone replacements to make up for the hormones you lack. Caregivers may treat your other health conditions if that is what is causing your hypopituitarism. This may include treating brain injuries or removing tumors inside your brain. Treating your hypopituitarism may help your body function normally again. Your symptoms may be relieved quickly, and you may prevent any further problems.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- Taking hormone replacements may cause weight gain and swelling in your feet and legs. They may increase your risk of having heart problems and breast, prostate, colon, or blood cancers. They may weaken your bones and increase your risk of having fractures (broken bones). You may have trouble falling asleep and have sudden mood changes. Taking certain hormone replacements during pregnancy may cause your baby to have certain birth defects. With surgery, your brain, nerves, and blood vessels may get damaged. Surgery may cause you to bleed too much or you may get an infection. After surgery, you may have headaches, or weakness in some parts of your body.
- If you do not have your hypopituitarism treated, your symptoms will get worse. You may always feel weak, slow, and sickly. Males may have problems getting an erection or getting their female partner pregnant. Females may have problems with their monthly period, and have trouble getting pregnant. You may have an increased risk of having diabetes, heart problems, and weak bones. You may have an increased risk of having a stroke, and having problems thinking or remembering things. You may lose consciousness for days or weeks, go into a coma, and you may even die. Talk to your caregiver if you have questions about your condition, treatment, or care.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
An IV (intravenous)
is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.
Intake and output:
Caregivers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day. Ask caregivers if they need to measure or collect your urine.
You may be weighed each day. Caregivers compare your weight from day to day to record how much body fluid you have. You can become dehydrated if you lose too much. You can have shortness of breath or swelling in your legs if you retain too much.
Caregivers may give you certain hormones to correct your blood levels. These hormones may be given as pills, injections, or skin patches. Certain hormones must be taken at certain times for them to work properly. Some may need to be taken several times a day, every day. You may need to take these hormones for the rest of your life.
- Urine testing: This test measures the hormone levels in your body.
- Blood tests: You may need blood taken for tests. This can tell caregivers how much of each hormone you have in your body. Blood tests may also give your caregivers information about your health. The blood can be taken from a blood vessel in your hand, arm, or the bend in your elbow. You may need to have blood drawn more than once.
- Computed tomography scan: This is also called a CT scan. A special x-ray machine with a computer takes pictures of your brain. It can show your tissues, blood vessels, and any tumors inside your brain. A CT scan can also tell if there is bleeding or other problems in your brain.
- Hormone challenge tests: This test is done to check if your hypothalamus, pituitary, and other glands are working properly. You will be given a certain amount of hormones or medicines such as insulin or steroids. Caregivers will then check how these hormones or medicines act in your body. Your caregiver will check for other health conditions before giving you hormone challenge tests. Tell your caregiver if you have heart problems or epilepsy.
- Magnetic resonance imaging: This is also called an MRI. The MRI shows pictures of the inside of your head. This can show your caregiver if you have any brain tumors or other problems. You will need to lay still and relax during an MRI. Never enter the MRI room with an oxygen tank, watch, or other metal objects. This can cause serious injury.
- Water deprivation test: This test measures how much ACTH or ADH you have in your body. You will be told not to drink liquids for a certain amount of time. Your urine will be measured every 2 hours and your blood will be checked every hour.
- Visual field testing: This test will check your side vision if you are having trouble seeing or have blurry vision.
- Fluid replacements: Certain hormones help control your blood pressure. When these hormone levels are too low, your blood pressure may be low and cause dizziness or other problems. IV fluids may be given to increase your blood pressure and correct your body's fluid balance. An IV is a tube placed in your vein for giving medicine or liquids. This tube is capped or connected to tubing and liquid.
- Treatments for other causes: Your caregiver may need to treat other health conditions that may be causing your hypopituitarism. Caregivers will treat brain trauma caused by accidents or blows to your head. Caregivers may use medicines, radiotherapy, or surgery to shrink or remove any brain tumors.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.