Empty Sella Syndrome

What is empty sella syndrome?

Empty sella syndrome is common in women who are overweight or have high blood pressure. Characterized by an enlarged bony structure (sella turcica) that houses the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, the disorders sometimes results in high fluid pressure inside the skull. The pituitary gland is usually normal size or small.

What are the symptoms of empty sella syndrome?

There may not be any symptoms of empty sella syndrome, or symptoms such as impotence, reduced sexual desire, and irregular menstruation may occur. Symptoms vary from person to person and depend on age and what caused the syndrome.

How is empty sella syndrome diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, diagnostic procedures for empty sella syndrome may include:

  • x-ray of the skull

  • computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) - a non-invasive procedure that takes cross-sectional images of the brain or other internal organs; to detect any abnormalities that may not show up on an ordinary x-ray

  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a non-invasive procedure that produces two-dimensional views of an internal organ or structure, especially the brain or spinal cord

The symptoms of empty sella syndrome may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

Treatment for empty sella syndrome:

Specific treatment for empty sella syndrome will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history

  • extent of the disease

  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • expectations for the course of the disease

  • your opinion or preference

If there are no other symptoms, and if the pituitary gland is not enlarged, treatment may not be necessary for empty sella syndrome.

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