Tests, scans and treatments

Tests to help diagnose a pituitary condition in younger people (like adults) usually start with simple blood samples taken from your arm; this might be done by your family GP. The results of these tests should take about a week (depending on the type of hormone being tested) to come back.

If your GP wants more tests taken and a specialist to do these, you would be sent to a hospital for these.  To help look at your pituitary and how it is working, you would be given a scan of your brain and pituitary gland as well as other blood samples taken – again usually from your arm.

Having a scan can feel a bit like lying in a metal tube, but these are very safe and can tell the specialist if there is something in your pituitary causing a problem. The nurses in the scan department will help you feel comfortable and understand any fears you may have. Your parent(s) can be with you throughout all of your blood testing and scans (they should be able to wait in an outer room for you). Treatment will depend on your individual condition and what hormones are needed to be replaced.

You may be looked after by a team of health professionals: endocrine consultant, endocrine nurses, pituitary surgeon, dietician, physiotherapists and other health staff who all play a very important role in helping young people understand their condition and how it needs to be treated.

For a young person, a good doctor or nurse is someone who gives choices in terms of medication and treatments, who is caring and supportive even if there are differences in opinion, and who is honest about prospects and prognosis. It is good to have doctors and nurses who talk directly to you rather than communicating through your parents. It is important that you feel treated as a young adult rather than as a child, that you feel they are approachable, put you at ease, provide reassurance, listen to concerns, are well-informed and are willing to answer questions.