TSH-Secreting Adenoma

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Mysterious weight loss? Racing heart? Tired and have trouble sleeping? These common but concerning issues have many causes. Rarely, they could be caused by a TSH-secreting adenoma.

A TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma is a tumor inside your head. The tumor makes a hormone called TSH. You need TSH. But too much of this hormone revs up your thyroid. That can lead to hyperthyroidism. 

These rare tumors of the pituitary gland aren't cancer. But, you'll need treatment to control your hormone levels and prevent other issues.

TSH-Secreting Adenoma Treatment

Our experts can help pinpoint and treat the source of your hormone issues. Successful treatment returns your hormone levels to normal. It may also reduce or remove the tumor. If you have a TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma, treatment helps to:

  • Return TSH and other hormone levels to normal
  • Reverse the symptoms
  • Correct other endocrine problems
  • Relieve any symptoms directly related to having a tumor in your head

Early treatment prevents symptoms caused by larger tumors.

Because this type of tumor affects multiple areas of your body, your care team will include experts in hormone care, neurosurgery, eye care, and radiology.


Surgery is the most common treatment for TSH-secreting adenomas. The surgery is done through your nose. It doesn't affect your brain or eye nerves. 

Before surgery, we need to treat your heart. This protects against heart problems during the surgery. This treatment usually takes 3-4 weeks. You'll get medication to slow your heart rate and reduce the amount of thyroid hormone your body makes.

After Successful Surgery

Once the tumor is completely removed, your thyroid hormone levels go back to normal. Usually this happens within a few days. But you may still have TSH-secreting adenoma symptoms for days to weeks after surgery.

Sometimes, you may have very low TSH levels after surgery. If you do, you may need thyroid hormone replacement therapy, sometimes permanently.


Medication for this type of tumor lowers TSH production by the tumor. This reduces both your TSH and thyroid hormone levels.

Sometimes the tumor shrinks in size with this treatment. Using this once-a-month treatment might mean you don't need surgery. But it doesn't destroy the tumor. You'll need to keep taking the medication to keep the tumor from growing again.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy or radiosurgery are options if you can't take the medication or your TSH levels don't go down while taking it.

Conventional radiation therapy takes about 4-6 weeks.

Another option is a Gamma Knife procedure. This procedure isn't surgery. It uses targeted radiation to treat the tumor. Unlike regular radiation therapy, it's a single treatment.

After Treatment

Your pituitary tumor could come back at any time. You’ll need regular follow-up visits to check your hormones. You may also get an MRI scan. If it comes back, you’ll need to be treated again.  

Symptoms of TSH-Secreting Adenomas

TSH-secreting pituitary adenomas are the least common type of pituitary adenoma. They happen more commonly in women. The tumors often grow larger than 1 cm in diameter. When they do, we call them macroadenomas.

TSH tells your thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones T3 and T4. These hormones regulate your metabolism and affect the growth and function of other organs. Too much TSH may cause an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Weight loss
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Nervousness
  • Tremor of the hands
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Fatigue
  • Less menstrual flow or loss of menstrual periods

Other symptoms of pituitary tumors are:

  • Loss of vision
  • Headache