Sheehan syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Sheehan syndrome is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Excessive blood loss during or after delivery of a baby may affect the function of the pituitary gland, leading to a form of maternal hypopituitarism known as Sheehan syndrome. Such extensive bleeding may reduce the blood flow to the pituitary gland and hence the amount of oxygen available to the cells of the brain and the gland. In such circumstances the pituitary cells may be damaged or die (necrosis) and thus the production of the usual pituitary hormones will be reduced, perhaps by a significant amount.

During pregnancy the pituitary gland will enlarge and may double in size. At this time the gland is especially vulnerable to "shock" and excessive maternal bleeding may induce the "shock" and the damage to the cells of the gland. At that time the balance of hormones produced by the pituitary may be thrown off giving rise to the symptoms associated with Sheehan syndrome.

There appear to be two forms of the disorder; a chronic form and an acute form, depending on the amount of damage to the gland's cells. The acute form reflects considerable damage so that symptoms become apparent soon after delivery. In chronic cases, the volume of damage is much less and symptoms may not appear for months or years after delivery.

Supporting Organizations

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
Website: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

Hormone Health Network Endocrine Society

2055 L Street NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202)971-3636
Fax: (202)736-9705
Tel: (888)363-6274
Email: hormone@endocrine.org
Website: http://www.hormone.org/

NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases

Office of Communications & Public Liaison
Bldg 31, Rm 9A06
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
Tel: (301)496-3583
Email: NDDIC@info.niddk.nih.gov
Website: http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/

Pituitary Foundation

PO Box 1944
Bristol, BS99 2UB
United Kingdom
Tel: 8454500376
Fax: 1179330910
Tel: 8454500375
Email: helpline@pituitary.org.uk
Website: http://www.pituitary.org.uk

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  5/20/2015
Copyright  2015 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.