Hypopituitarism | Causes & Risk Factors


What causes hypopituitarism?

Hypopituitarism is commonly caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland. A tumor can squeeze the pituitary gland as it grows, which can cause damage. A pituitary tumor can also put pressure on the optic nerves in the eyes and cause visual problems.

Other causes of hypopituitarism are:

  • Brain tumor
  • Brain surgery
  • Head injuries
  • Infections of the brain, such as meningitis
  • Radiation treatment
  • Stroke
  • Tuberculosis
  • Uncommon diseases, such as sarcoidosis and histiocytosis X

Hypopituitarism can also be caused by diseases of the hypothalamus, a portion of the brain located just above the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is responsible for producing hormones that help the pituitary gland function normally.

In other cases, the cause of hypopituitarism may be unknown.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/07