Adequate Hormone Replacement Before Fertility Treatment Could Increase Chance of Successful Pregnancy in Women with Hypopituitarism

Important Information Broken Down For You

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A recent study published in the Journal of Endocrine Society found the chance of successful pregnancy in women with childhood-onset combined pituitary hormone deficiencies was increased when they were treated with adequate hormone replacement before ovarian stimulation. So what does this mean? Let's break it down.

What is hypopituitarism?

Hypopituitarism is a rare disorder in which the pituitary gland doesn't produce one or more of its hormones or doesn't produce enough of them. The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain and produces hormones that influence nearly every part of the body's functions, including reproduction, growth, and blood pressure. Hypopituitarism is usually caused by a tumor of the pituitary gland, but it can also be the result of inherited disorders. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of pubic hair
  • Anemia
  • Infertility
  • Decreased facial or body hair in men
  • Facial puffiness
  • Hot flashes
  • Inability to produce milk in breastfeeding women
  • Irregular periods

Consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms. Immediate medical care is required if you are also experiencing severe headaches, visual disturbances, or confusion in addition to these symptoms, as such signs could indicate bleeding of the pituitary gland.

What did we learn from this study?

In the study published by the Journal of Endocrine Society, five women with childhood-onset pituitary hormones deficiencies were evaluated. The women's ages ranged from 25 to 37 years. The women were all given growth hormones before ovarian stimulation treatment. This was done through a regimen of oral estradiol valerate plus levonorgestrel replaced conjugated estrogen tablets, in addition to medroxyprogesterone acetate and oral contraceptive pills (with seven day intervals between cycles). All of the women became pregnant. All of the births were singleton births, except for one set of identical twins. Three of the births were done through cesarean section, while the other two were vaginal deliveries. All of the babies were healthy, with only one infant being small for gestational age. None of the infants showed any signs of hypopituitarism. 

What does this mean for women with hypopituitarism who want to conceive?

Women with hypopituitarism require a multidisciplinary team for management of their condition and fertility induction both before and during pregnancy. Still, with appropriate hormonal replacement, healthy pregnancy can occur, resulting in a happy and healthy infant. While this is a very recent study, it demonstrates the ability of women with hypopituitarism to have successful pregnancies. Talk to your physician about your options and before long, you might be on the road to parenthood!

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