Pituitary Disorders

Acromegaly, Cushing's Disease, Hypopituitarism, and More

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Duke specialists treat pituitary disorders that occur when your pituitary gland produces too much or not enough of certain hormones. We manage and treat the full range of pituitary disorders, including rare conditions like acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, and hypopituitarism. As a top regional referral center, our integrated team approach makes seeking care for your pituitary disorder more efficient and convenient.

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About Pituitary Disorders

The pituitary gland is pea-sized structure located at the base of the brain. Despite its small size, it plays a critical role in overall health because it regulates most of the body’s hormone production. When your pituitary gland produces too much or not enough of certain hormones, it can cause a wide range of symptoms and disorders.

Pituitary disorders can be caused by genetics, injury, or inflammation. Many are caused by a benign growth or noncancerous tumor. Learn more about pituitary tumor care at Duke.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.


Doctors may recommend one or more of the following tests:

Hormone Evaluation
Using a combination of blood and urine tests to measure hormone levels. 

Provocative/Suppression Test
Drugs or hormones artificially provoke or suppress the production of certain hormones so your doctor can see how your body reacts. Our endocrinologists and nurses are specialized in this type of pituitary testing, including:

  • Cortisol stimulation tests: Measures cortisol levels in your blood before and after you receive a medication that should increase cortisol production. This test may indicate the presence of adrenal insufficiency if cortisol levels stay low.
  • Dexamethasone suppression tests: Measures cortisol levels in your blood after taking an oral medication that should lower your cortisol level. This test may indicate the presence of Cushing’s disease if cortisol levels stay high. 
  • Growth hormone suppressive testing: Measures growth hormone levels in your blood before and after you consume a sugary drink, which should lower your levels. This test may indicate the presence of acromegaly if growth hormone levels stay high. 
  • Growth hormone stimulation testing: Measures growth hormone levels in your blood before and after you receive a medication that should increase growth hormone production. This test may indicate the presence of growth hormone deficiency if levels stay low.
  • Water deprivation testing: Measures blood and urine concentration levels after reducing water intake. This test may indicate diabetes insipidus if urine concentration stays low. 

Pituitary MRI
Uses magnets and radio waves to create detailed, high-resolution images of your pituitary gland and identify abnormalities.

Vision Exam
Because the pituitary gland is located next to the optic nerves that control vision, a mass within the pituitary gland can affect your vision. A comprehensive visual examination by a neuro-ophthalmologist can detect problems with your vision.

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Treatment for pituitary disorders depends on the cause and may include a combination of therapies. Medicines and hormone-replacement therapies can increase or decrease your body’s production of specific hormones to alleviate your symptoms. If pituitary tumors are causing your pituitary disorder, radiation therapy or surgery may be recommended. Endocrinologist, radiologists, neurosurgeons, and others work together to determine the best option for each person.

Best Hospital for Endocrinology and Diabetes in NC

When it comes to your care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our diabetes and endocrinology program is rated as high performing among the nation's top hospitals, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

Why Choose Duke

Dedicated Pituitary Disorder Treatment Clinic
We offer highly specialized care for pituitary disorders and pituitary tumors. Our collaborative clinic allows you to see several providers in one day, in one location, and receive a same-day recommendation for next steps.  Many of our doctors have completed advanced training in pituitary disorders and have years of experience. 

A Team of Specialists
Our team includes endocrinologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-ophthalmologists, radiation oncologists, otolaryngologists, and others who work together to review your case and determine the best course of treatment. People travel to Duke from around the region and beyond for pituitary disorders treatment because of our team’s expertise and experience treating these rare conditions.

Personalized Treatment Plans
Whenever possible, we use medication to control your symptoms and hormone levels. Our team is also trained to recognize when surgery is necessary to remove pituitary tumors. We offer the full range of surgical options, including minimally invasive, endoscopic approaches that shorten recovery time, reduce risk, and leave no external scars.

This page was medically reviewed on 02/20/2023 by