Pituitary hormone excess

Keywords: Hyperprolactinaemia


Appropriate Tests


Increased levels of pituitary hormones may be the result of autonomous production by pituitary adenomas, release from inhibitory feedback mechanisms, or ectopic secretion.

One or more hormones may be increased and if there is a pituitary lesion, there may be associated deficiency of one or more hormones.

See also Pituitary/hypothalamic disorders.

ADH excess


Growth hormone excess

Acromegaly, gigantism (in childhood).

IGF-1; Growth hormone suppression test.

Pituitary adenoma


Ectopic syndromes (rare)


Pancreatic islet cell tumour

See under Pancreatic neoplasm

Carcinoid tumour (lungs, adrenals)


Adrenocorticotrophin excess

Dexamethasone suppression test-overnight; Cortisol urine.

Then, if indicated, Dexamethasone suppression test-long including ACTH.

See Cushing's syndrome

Pituitary adenoma

Cushing's disease.

Clinical features of Cushing's syndrome.

Ectopic ACTH syndrome

Patients may have clinical features of Cushing's syndrome.

Nelson's syndrome

Patients are not Cushingoid. ACTH is the appropriate test.

Prolactin excess

Present with amenorrhoea and/or galactorrhoea.

Prolactin; repeat, if elevated, to document persistent elevation.

See also Infertility (male and female)



Other pituitary tumour



  • Post-oral contraceptive use
  • Stress


Drugs, especially

  • Cimetidine
  • Methadone
  • Metoclopramide


Thyrotrophin excess

'Pituitary' Hyperthyroidism: Thyroid stimulating hormone, Free T4.

See Hyperthyroidism

Pituitary adenoma


Pituitary T4 resistance


Gonadotrophin excess

Precocious puberty, Gynaecomastia. In many cases, there are no clinical features suggesting an endocrine disorder.

Luteinising hormone, Follicle stimulating hormone, Alpha subunit, Testosterone or Oestradiol.

Pituitary adenoma


Ectopic syndromes, especially

  • Germinoma
  • Carcinoma lung
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma

Beta HCG quantitation.

Alpha subunit excess

These patients do not present with clinical features of an endocrine disorder: Alpha subunit.

Alpha subunit secreting tumours


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