The pituitary, often called the master gland, is a peanut-shaped gland lodged at the base of the brain behind and between the eyes. The pituitary secretes a number of hormones that govern such diverse and vital functions as growth, sexual development, urine output, and many other aspects of life. It keeps an eye on other important glands such as the thyroid, adrenals and gonads to make sure they are producing the correct amount of hormones. When the pituitary senses that the other glands need regulating, it secretes various hormones which trigger a response by the other glands.

The symptoms of pituitary tumors vary depending on the size and configuration of the tumor and whether or not the particular tumor secretes hormones. The majority of pituitary adenomas are non-malignant and grow slowly within the pituitary gland. However, more aggressive and invasive tumors grow rapidly and can cause blindness, increased intracranial pressure and life-threatening endocrine abnormalities.

One in every four persons may develop a pituitary tumor during their lifetime. Of these, only a relative few will be tested and properly diagnosed. And, unfortunately, of those diagnosed, less than half are likely to receive appropriate and ongoing medical care and treatment. The lag time between onset and diagnosis of some of these illnesses is 10-14 years.

Pituitary Network Association:

The Pituitary Hormones

The anterior pituitary secretes the following:

As a point of interest for those whom may or may not in the near future need to memorize these hormones, there's a nice mnemonic for it:

"The Anterior Pituitary Gives Females Life"

The posterior pituitary secretes the following:

Pi*tu"i*ta*ry (?), a. [L. pituita phlegm, pituite: cf. F. pituitarie.] Anat. (a)

Secreting mucus or phlegm; as, the pituitary membrane, or the mucous membrane which lines the nasal cavities.


Of or pertaining to the pituitary body; as, the pituitary fossa.

Pituitary bodygland Anat., a glandlike body of unknown function, situated in the pituitary fossa, and connected with the infundibulum of the brain; the hypophysis. -- Pituitary fossa Anat., the ephippium. <-- glandula pituitaria, basilaris. Suspended from the base of the hypothalamus. secretes pituitary hormones: oxytocin, antidiuretic hormone; somatotropins, prolactin, thyroid stimulating hormone, gonadotropins, adrenal corticotropin and other peptide hormones. Called the "master gland" -->


© Webster 1913.

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