SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
In most cases, the signs and symptoms of Sheehan's syndrome appear slowly, after a period of months or even years. But sometimes — such as in a breast-feeding mother — problems may appear right away.
Signs and symptoms of Sheehan's syndrome are those of deficiencies of the various hormones the pituitary gland controls: thyroid, adrenal, breast milk production and menstrual function. Signs and symptoms include:
- Slowed mental function, weight gain and difficulty staying warm, as a result of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Difficulty breast-feeding or an inability to breast-feed
- No menstrual periods (amenorrhea) or infrequent menstruation (oligomenorrhea)
- Loss of pubic or underarm hair
- Low blood pressure
- Weight loss
For many women, the symptoms of Sheehan's syndrome are nonspecific and often attributed to other things. Fatigue, for instance, goes hand in hand with being a new mother. You might not realize that you have Sheehan's syndrome until you need treatment for thyroid or adrenal insufficiency.
It's also possible to remain relatively symptom-free with Sheehan's syndrome. Some women unknowingly live for years with pituitary insufficiency, then go into adrenal crisis triggered by extreme physical stressors, such as severe infection or surgery.
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