Pituitary or Hypothalamic Failure

The pituitary gland is a bean-shaped gland at the base of the brain that produces hormones that regulate the body’s functioning. Just above the pituitary in the brain, the hypothalamus helps control the functions of the pituitary gland, particularly in response to stress. Together, these regions are involved in regulation of body temperature, growth, milk production, salt and water balance, sleep, weight and appetite, emotion, and reproduction and childbirth.

Hypopituitarism is a condition caused by failure of the pituitary gland, which can occur when the pituitary gland either ceases to produce enough of one or more of its hormones, or stops producing these hormones completely. Symptoms are related to the missing hormones, and a wide range of symptoms can be seen, depending on which hormone is in short supply. Some of these problems include reproductive problems in adults, stunted growth in children, fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and low blood pressure.

Similarly, hypothalamic dysfunction can lead to pituitary failure and cause many of these same symptoms. Many causes of hypothalamic and pituitary dysfunction are treatable, and most of the time, missing hormones can be replaced.

We offer diagnosis and management of conditions both straightforward and complex, with a focus on fertility needs if pregnancy is a goal. Services may include:

  • Diagnosis and management of hypothalamic and pituitary failure
  • Management of reproductive and other health issues that may be associated with hypothalamic or pituitary failure (bone health, heart disease, menstrual cycle regulation)
  • Fertility treatments when appropriate if pregnancy is a goal
  • Referral to other specialists when appropriate for specific conditions

Yale physicians and researchers have been at the forefront of cutting edge research with regards to the reproductive issues that can be encountered in the setting of hypothalamic or pituitary failure. We at Yale Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility are privileged to be recognized both nationally and internationally as leaders in our field, and for our expertise in effectively addressing the needs and improving the overall health of women.