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The pituitary gland produces several important hormones. These hormones control a number of processes in the body. Mostly those related to growth and metabolism. Hypopituitarism occurs when your child’s pituitary gland doesn't produce enough hormones.

Hypopituitarism is a lifelong condition. While it sometimes develops slowly, it can also occur suddenly. While there's no cure, treatment can help manage symptoms.


Often, the exact cause of hypopituitarism is unknown. In some cases, the cause is congenital. Hypopituitarism can also be caused by:

  • Injury to the brain
  • Benign tumor or cancer
  • Infection
  • Autoimmune disorder

Symptoms of Hypopituitarism

Symptoms vary depending on which hormones are affected, but may include:

  • Slow growth
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Low appetite
  • Low blood sugar
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Swelling in the face
  • Late or no puberty
  • Jaundice at birth
  • Small penis size in a newborn

Diagnosis and Treatment at UVA Health Children's

At UVA Health Children's, your child’s doctor may perform or recommend:

  • Blood tests
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • X-ray

Treatment will depend on the cause of the hypopituitarism. Treatment may include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Surgery or radiation, if a tumor is the cause