Articles on Medical Diseases and Conditions

Entries for the ‘Pituitary and Gonadal Disorders’ Category


Gynecomastia is usually defined as enlargement of the male breast. This may be palpable only or may be grossly visible. Either type may be unilateral or bilateral. A small degree of palpable nonvisible gynecomastia is said to be present in about 30%-40% of clinically normal men. Most etiologies of gynecomastia can produce either unilateral or […]

Female Hirsitism

Female hirsutism is a relatively common problem in which the overriding concern of the physician is to rule out an ovarian or adrenal tumor. The type and distribution of hair can be used to differentiate physiologic hair growth from nonphysiologic growth (hirsutism). In females there are two types of hair: fine, thin, nonpigmented vellus hair […]

Secondary Amenorrhea

Secondary amenorrhea implies ending of menstruation after menstruation has already begun. A list of etiologies of secondary amenorrhea is presented in the box, grouped according to evidence of ovarian function (from tests discussed in the section on primary amenorrhea). If menstruation definitely takes place, especially if it continues for several months or years, this eliminates […]

Female Delayed Puberty and Primary Amenorrhea

Onset of normal puberty in girls is somewhat variable, with disagreement in the literature concerning at what age to diagnose precocious puberty and at what age to suspect delayed puberty. The most generally agreed-on range of onset for female puberty is between 9 and 16 years. Signs of puberty include breast development, growth of pubic […]

Precocious Puberty

Precocious puberty can be isosexual (secondary sex characteristics of the same sex) or heterosexual (masculinization in girls and feminization in boys). The syndromes have been further subdivided into those that produce true puberty with functioning gonads and those that produce pseudopuberty, in which development of secondary sex characteristics suggests puberty but the gonads do not […]

Male Infertility or Hypogonadism

About 40%-50% of infertility problems are said to be due to dysfunction of the male reproductive system. Male infertility can be due to hormonal etiology (either lack of gonadotropin or suppression of spermatogenesis), nonhormonal factors affecting spermatogenesis, primary testicular disease, obstruction to sperm passages, disorders of sperm motility or viability or presence of antisperm antibodies […]

Tests of Gonadal Function

The most common conditions in which gonadal function tests are used are hypogonadism in males and menstrual disorders, fertility problems, and hirsutism or virilization in females. The hormones currently available for assistance include lutropin (luteinizing hormone; LH), follitropin (follicle-stimulating hormone; FSH), testosterone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Gonadal function is regulated by […]


Acromegaly is produced in adults by increase of GH, usually from an eosinophilic adenoma of the pituitary. About two thirds of these patients are female. Signs and symptoms include bitemporal headaches, disturbances of the visual fields, optic nerve atrophy, and physical changes in the face and hands. About 25% of patients have fasting hyperglycemia, and […]

Prolactin Secretion Abnormalities

Prolactin is another peptide pituitary hormone. It stimulates lactation (galactorrhea) in females, but its function in males is less certain. The major regulatory mechanism for prolactin secretion is an inhibitory effect exerted by the hypothalamus, with one known pathway being under control of dopamine. There is also a hypothalamic stimulating effect, although a specific prolactin-stimulating […]

Growth Hormone (GH; Somafotropin) Deficiency

GH is a peptide that is secreted by the acidophil cells of the pituitary. GH release depends on the interplay between two opposing hormones secreted by the hypothalamus; growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), which stimulates GH release, and somatostatin, which inhibits GH release. GH exerts its effect through stimulation of various tissues to produce a group […]