Pituitary: How to check?


How can I see the Pituitary Gland?

The pituitary gland is best visualized by a MR scan of the brain, though an X-ray or a CT scan can throw some light on the anatomy of the gland. This MR scan can be done with and without contrast.

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What hormones can be checked?

All the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland can be checked using simple blood tests.

How often they need to be checked?

It depends, to diagnose we need to check once. After treatment to monitor therapy we need to check, the frequency depends on the diagnosis and type of treatment.

How do we check Pituitary Hormones?

The pituitary hormones can be checked by blood samples. Since there is a diurnal (day and night) variation of all the hormones in the human body, the samples should ideally be taken early in the morning when there is a peak level of hormones. Some blood tests will require hormone sampling later in the day when the hormone levels are low. These are called basal samples.

In most of the cases we need dynamic tests, which means we need to check after stimulating or suppressing the hormone we need to assess. The rule of thumb is if we are investigating underactive pituitary we need to stimulate the maximum reserve the gland has. Similarly in case of overactive gland we need to suppress.

This article is prepared along with Dr Menaka