By On July 24th, 2009

Post Head Injury Pituitary Workup?

Medpage today reports that new research suggests that moderate to severe brain trauma increases the risk of pituitary problems. Dr Raverot shares that the “results are preliminary, but they confirm the high risk for pituitary disorders after moderate to severe neurologic events, including traumatic brain injury and subarachnoid hemorrhage.” Ischemic stroke probably disturbs pituitary function, however the exact nature of the association has not been thoroughly examined.

What is your pituitary and what does it do?

The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that your pituitary is a gland located at the base of the brain and is no larger than a pea, and is responsible for producing many different hormones. Some of the hormones the pituitary gland produces are those for growth, prolactin (for milk production after giving birth), ACTH (which stimulates the adrenal glands), TSH (to stimulate the thyroid gland), FSH (to stimulate the ovaries and testes), LH (to stimulate the ovaries or testes), melanocyte-stimulating hormone (controls skin pigmentation), ADH (to increase absorption of water into the blood by the kidneys), oxytocin (to contract the uterus during childbirth and stimulate milk production).

As you can see, the pituitary does a lot, and damage to the pituitary can have many different consequences. Screening the pituitary after suffering from a moderate to severe brain injury makes sense.

One Response

  1. AM says:

    A high blood prolactin was found very shortly after a blow to the centre of my head and two years later I still have around 1200 blood level with centralised head pressure, poor sleep. Also found on mri was a assymetry of pituitary and small prolactinoma. These two observations no longer show on the mri two years later – but prolactin still unchanged! I am diagnosed only with migraines as the explanation for the symptoms post concussion, but i am only symptomatic in the direct centre of my head and would recognise if I was having vaso constriction.

    All head trauma should have a blood prolactin and MRI taken.

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