Spring Campaign

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Child birth can cause these two rare types of pituitary condition

Our spring campaign in 2017 raised awareness about Sheehan’s Syndrome and Lymphocytic Hypophysitis. These are rare types of pituitary conditions that can be caused by child birth in some women. 

We asked people to get involved to help us spread awareness on social media and by distributing our new factsheet about these conditions to child birth support organisations. A recent survey conducted by The Foundation about Sheehan’s Syndrome found that 72% of women with Sheehan’s who took part were not given any information resources about the condition by the Health Care Professionals that were involved in their care and diagnosis.

The Foundation worked hard to contact relevant organisations during the campaign. We spoke to; The National Childbirth Trust, antenatal groups, Institute of Health Visitors, independent midwives organisations, and relevant NHS bodies. We also contacted endocrine professionals who we are in close contact with to raise awareness about our campaign and ask them if they could forward information to colleagues in non-endocrine departments.

The campaign was launched March 30th 2017 and 7,269 people saw our launch message on Facebook.

We had a really positive response back from The National Childbirth Trust and it is excellent to know one of the largest support organisations is now providing information about these conditions. They said: 'Many thanks for getting in touch with the details of your campaign and the information sheet. I wasn’t familiar with these conditions, so the information sheet was very helpful. We can alert our practitioners who work directly with parents to your web content and the information sheet, so that they know where to signpost if it comes up. And we will also keep this in mind when reviewing our web content in the future'.

Increased awareness will not only help towards appropriate and speedy diagnosis but could actually help to save lives. Issues of isolation, distress, and the challenges of caring for a baby whilst being unwell and seeking diagnosis has a huge impact on the mother and her family.

Patient stories

Read new patient stories written by women specifically for this campaign who wanted to help us spread awareness about these conditions. You can read the stories within this section of the website via the left hand tab. A huge thank you to all these patients for sharing their stories. 

How you can get still involved

  • Help us publicise our fact sheet

Download our new free factsheet about Sheehan’s Syndrome and Lymphocytic Hypophysitis here and if you have contact with any child birth support organisations please help us by taking this to them. For example, you could take this factsheet along to your midwife or antenatal class. The factsheet contains a link to this webpage too, direct them to this if they want to read the further information and patient stories.

Further Information

Sheehan's Syndrome affects women who have severe low blood pressure during or after childbirth, or who lose a large amount of blood in childbirth. The lack of oxygen damages the pituitary gland, and causes an insufficiency of pituitary hormones (hypopituitarism). It's possible to remain relatively symptom-free at first with Sheehan's Syndrome, depending on the extent of damage to the pituitary gland. Some women spend years not knowing their pituitary isn't working properly. For example, symptoms like fatigue can be put down to looking after a new baby. They might not realise they have Sheehan's Syndrome until they need treatment for thyroid or adrenal insufficiency, (even an emergency adrenal crisis). Conditions that increase the risk of an obstetric haemorrhage include multiple pregnancies (twins or triplets) and abnormalities of the placenta. Blood tests would establish hormone levels and a scan to rule out other abnormalities of the pituitary, such as a tumour.

Lymphocytic Hypophysitis (LH) is another cause of hypopituitarism that may be associated with pregnancy. This is due to inflammation in the pituitary caused by immune cells. The reasons why this occurs is not understood. With modern obstetric practice the occurrence of hypopituitarism after childbirth, though uncommon, is more frequently due to this condition than Sheehan’s Syndrome.

Further information from external sources on Sheehan's and LH.

If you have any further queries about this campaign please contact 0117 370 1333, or email enquiries@pituitary.org.uk