Sheehan's syndrome

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Sheehan's syndrome

Question

What can you tell me about Sheehan's syndrome in pregnant women?

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Answer

Sheehan's syndrome is a rare condition involving the pituitary gland that can occur in women after severe blood loss during childbirth. This blood loss may cause tissue death in the front part of the pituitary gland, resulting in impaired function of the gland. Doctors may also refer to this disorder as postpartum hypopituitarism.

The pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, is responsible for making a variety of hormones that help regulate growth, reproduction and metabolism. Signs and symptoms of Sheehan's syndrome include:

  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lack of breast milk production
  • Loss of pubic hair
  • Absence of menstrual bleeding (amenorrhea)

A doctor may confirm a diagnosis by blood tests that measure hormone levels. Treatment is lifelong hormone replacement therapy.

Pituitary gland

Image of pituitary gland

The pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, is responsible for making a variety of hormones that help regulate growth, reproduction and metabolism.

Last Updated: 05/20/2005
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