DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
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|Pituitary gland and hypothalamus|
Sheehan's syndrome is a condition that affects women who experience life-threatening blood loss during or after childbirth. Severe blood loss deprives your body of oxygen and can seriously damage vital tissues and organs. Sheehan's syndrome damages the pituitary gland — a small gland at the base of your brain. The result is the permanent underproduction of essential pituitary hormones (hypopituitarism).
Also called postpartum hypopituitarism, Sheehan's syndrome is rare in industrialized nations. But it's still a major threat to women in developing countries.
For some women, Sheehan's syndrome seems to cause few, if any, symptoms. For others, Sheehan's syndrome can lead to an adrenal crisis — a life-threatening shortage of the hormone cortisol. Treatment of Sheehan's syndrome involves hormone replacement therapy.
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