Any type of traumatic brain injury, mild to severe, can cause damage to your pituitary gland. This pea-sized master gland is easily damaged from a car accident, sports-related concussion, military-related, and even slips and falls.
Pituitary dysfunction is often misdiagnosed or missed completely as the symptoms often begin years after a head injury. The symptoms are also not well known and not correlated with the brain injury that occurred years earlier.
Common pituitary dysfunction symptoms are:
- Mood/Emotion Swings
- Loss of Memory
- Loss of Sleep
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Weakness in Limbs
- High Blood Pressure
- Unusual Hair Growth
- Eating Disorders
- Weight Gain
- Irregular Menses
Not all of these symptoms will be presented with pituitary dysfunction and are different between men and women.
Growth hormone is usually the first hormone to be affected by a traumatic brain injury. It can either become deficient or over-active. Growth hormone imbalance can come on suddenly or slowly decline or increase with time.
The most commonly missed pituitary dysfunction is low growth hormone. The main symptom is fatigue and muscle weakness. Bone and joint pain are to follow.
Assessing symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and bone/joint pain is often accompanied by analyzing diet and exercise. This is why the symptoms of low growth hormone are often overlooked by physicians for many years or not at all for patients who have experienced head trauma.
TSH is another hormone produced by the pituitary gland and is a common test performed on adults. It’s usually a test to investigate thyroid function. TSH can also become low over time in patients with pituitary dysfunction. Low TSH however, is not easily identified until much later after growth hormone becomes deficient. TSH is the last of the hormones to decline from pituitary trauma. A normal TSH in the eyes of a doctor can be misleading to pituitary dysfunction.
The order of hormones typically declining from pituitary dysfunction starts with growth hormone, ACTH & cortisol, FSH & LH, and then TSH.
One or all of these hormones can dysfunction at any time caused by traumatic brain injury but growth hormone is the usual first suspect with pituitary trauma.
As these hormones become affected, the hormones triggered by these become affected as well including, estrogen and testosterone.
Pituitary dysfunction is rarely life-threatening unless the adrenal gland hormones are affected or a tumor has developed. The hormone imbalances often have a tendency to cause depression due to the feeling that “something just isn’t normal” or “I’m so tired and don’t know why”.
A new option is finally available to get the help that people experiencing pituitary dysfunction caused by traumatic brain injury NEED.
The symptoms will gradually get worse becoming disabling and affecting the ability to work. I know this, I have experienced it and this is why I’m sharing this option with you to make sure you don’t go through the long-term effects from a head injury.
True Health Labs offers a lab test that can be ordered online WITHOUT a doctor that can be used to screen your pituitary function starting with potential growth hormone deficiency.
IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor) is the first test ordered by endocrinologists to suspect pituitary dysfunction. IGF-1 is a hormone that regulated growth hormone effects in your body. It goes up when growth hormone is increased and goes down when growth hormone is decreased. The test is often taken to assess the trend of growth hormone and monitor growth hormone treatment.
Having the ability to get this lab test on your own without a doctor allows you to take control of your health. If the result is abnormal, you can hand the results to your primary care to perform a stimulation test to confirm pituitary dysfunction and refer you to an endocrinologist. If the results are normal but on the low side or high side, you can save the results and follow up after a year to see how your IGF-1 is trending. Abnormal results can happen suddenly or after many years. Every injury and person is different but worth keeping an eye on.
It is common for physicians not to order the test for you as they usually analyze diet and exercise first and if you have any other medical conditions, the symptoms are usually tied in with those conditions pushing the pituitary dysfunction to the side to go unnoticed. It took me several times requesting growth hormone testing over a years time.
You can also order an easy at home saliva hormone test kit to evaluate other hormones that could be abnormal such as:
- Cortisol (4 samples – 24 hours)
Women experiencing imbalance in these hormones will often have irregular periods, urinating frequently or not enough, abnormal hair growth, and weight gain or weight loss.
Men should test their hormone levels using this salivary home test kit. Men often experience erectile dysfunction, mood changes, sleep disturbances, and abnormal muscle and hair growth as well.
This Facebook Group for Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency has been very helpful for me with support and understanding. You will find some people took 15 years or longer to identify their pituitary dysfunction.
There are not many support avenues available or information as pituitary dysfunction associated from traumatic brain injury or any head injury is very overlooked in the medical field.
I’m hoping to change this and offer this education support to finally begin to get help. I did not have online lab testing without a doctor available to me at the time of my symptoms, but I WISH I DID! I’m happy to share this valuable resource with you today and please share with others who may be experiencing pituitary dysfunction and not even know it.
Getting help sooner rather than later will greatly improve quality of life. When multiple hormone glands begin to be affected over time, it is more challenging to treat and bring them back to balance.
Brain health supplements are important to consider when coping with long-term traumatic brain injury health effects.