Pituitary tumor

The pituitary gland is a small, bean-sized gland located in a chamber behind your eyes, at the base of the skull . Just above this chamber the optic nerves pass. The pituitary gland is part of the endocrine system and in charge of making several essential hormones and stimulates other hormone producing glands like the thyroid, the adrenal gland and the reproductive organs. It also regulates the water balance and sodium levels in your body.


Pituitary tumor are benign. Symptoms develop gradually, because the tumor growth is slow and the tumor usually does not produce hormones itself. This type of tumor is called a 'non functioning tumor'. When the tumor grows it can start compressing other structures, like the optic nerves and/or compress the normal pituitary gland. This together can cause the following symptoms

  • Bad vision or vision loss
  • Lower levels of certain hormones
  • A combination of the above 

Pituitary tumors that do make hormones are called 'functioning tumors', they can cause a variety of signs and symptoms depending on the hormone they produce. 


Depending on the size and type of tumor, the tumor can be removed via surgery and/or can be treated with medication or sometimes radiation therapy.

Within UNCH the LUMC is a national and European reference centre for pituitary tumors. More information (in Dutch) can be found on the LUMC website.

Ons advies