How does the pituitary gland affect behavior?

Understanding Pituitary Disorders

Pituitary disorders can cause a range of symptoms. They can also be challenging to diagnose. They share these traits:

  • The pituitary gland may raise or lower one or more hormones.
  • A hormone imbalance can cause physical or mood changes. At the same time, pituitary disorders often develop slowly. It may take a long time until you notice symptoms.
  • Symptoms of pituitary disorders are similar to those of other diseases. Many people are misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed.

The pituitary gland

Anatomy of the pituitary gland and its location below the brain

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What are pituitary disorders?

What does the pituitary gland do?

First, it helps to understand the pituitary gland.

The “master gland”: The pituitary gland is about the size of a pea. It sits at the base of the brain, roughly behind the bridge of your nose. It’s often called the “master gland” because it produces several hormones and controls other glands, such as the thyroid gland and the adrenal glands.

Diagram of the anatomy of the pituitary gland

Part of the endocrine system: The pituitary gland is part of the endocrine system, the body’s hormone system. Hormones are natural chemicals, circulated mostly in the bloodstream, that guide everything from growth to fertility.

Anatomy: The pituitary has two parts, an anterior lobe and a posterior lobe. Each lobe releases different hormones. The pituitary gland is attached to the bottom of the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that connects the nervous system and endocrine system. The hypothalamus releases hormones, and it signals the pituitary gland to release hormones.