Sheehan's syndrome

The pituitary gland on a plate from Gray's Anatomy (1918). The anterior lobe is on the left, and the posterior lobe on the right, both in red.

Hypopituitarism , caused by ischemic necrosis due to blood loss and hypovolemic shock during and after childbirth.

- Sheehan's syndrome

13 related topics


Adrenal insufficiency

Condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce adequate amounts of steroid hormones, primarily cortisol; but may also include impaired production of aldosterone , which regulates sodium conservation, potassium secretion, and water retention.

Adrenal gland

Secondary adrenal insufficiency is caused by impairment of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. Its principal causes include pituitary adenoma (which can suppress production of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and lead to adrenal deficiency unless the endogenous hormones are replaced; secondary adrenal insufficiency can be caused by steroids, inhaled steroids such as Flovent; and Sheehan's syndrome, which is associated with impairment of only the pituitary gland.


Steroid hormone, in the glucocorticoid class of hormones.

Change in plasma cortisol cycle (mcg/dl) over 24 hours
Steroidogenesis, showing cortisol at right.

Secondary hypocortisolism (pituitary tumor, Sheehan's syndrome)

Growth hormone deficiency

Medical condition resulting from not enough growth hormone (GH).

Growth hormone

ischemic or hemorrhagic infarction from low blood pressure (Sheehan syndrome) or hemorrhage pituitary apoplexy

Low milk supply

Production of breast milk in daily volumes that do not fully meet the nutritional needs of her infant.

Many premature infants cannot suck effectively, which can lead to decreased milk production in the mother.
Early skin-to-skin contact between mother and newborn promotes the establishment of a plentiful milk supply.
Using a breast pump can maintain and improve milk supply if the baby is unable to nurse effectively.

Sheehan's syndrome

Adrenal crisis

Potentially life-threatening medical condition requiring immediate emergency treatment.

A chart measuring a change in plasma cortisol cycle (mcg/dl) over 24 hours

Adrenal crisis is caused by a deficiency of cortisol resulting from Addison's disease, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), corticosteroid biosynthetic enzyme defects or pituitary disorders (such as Sheehan's syndrome, pituitary adenoma, hypopituitarism (inactive or underactive pituitary) causing failure to activate the adrenal glands.

Breast milk

Milk produced by mammary glands, located in the breast of a human female.

Two 25-milliliter samples of human breast milk. The left-hand sample is the first milk produced by the mother while the right-hand sample was produced later, during the same pumping.
Pumped breast milk
Breast feeding latch
Colostrum vs breastmilk
Bottle of pumped breast milk

A rarer reason is Sheehan's syndrome, also known as postpartum hypopituitarism, which is associated with prolactin deficiency and may require hormone replacement.


Billy Sheehan (born 1953), American rock bassist

Sheehan at Wacken Open Air 2018

Harold Leeming Sheehan (1900–1988), British endocrinologist, for whom Sheehan's syndrome was named circa 1937

Pituitary apoplexy

Bleeding into or impaired blood supply of the pituitary gland.

Visual field loss in bitemporal hemianopsia: compression of the optic chiasm leads to a characteristic pattern of vision loss affecting the outer halves of each eye.
The adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, are typically the first to be affected in pituitary apoplexy. When the stimulating hormone ACTH is not secreted, the adrenals cease to produce cortisol.
Normal pituitary gland on MRI (T1 sagittal without contrast enhancement). The arrow points at the posterior pituitary (intense signal), and the arrowhead at the anterior pituitary.

Pituitary apoplexy is regarded by some as distinct from Sheehan's syndrome, where the pituitary undergoes infarction as a result of prolonged very low blood pressure, particularly when caused by bleeding after childbirth.


Surgical removal of the hypophysis .

Located at the base of the brain, the pituitary gland is protected by a bony structure called the sella turcica of the sphenoid bone.

Sometimes it is used to treat Cushing's syndrome due to pituitary adenoma or Simmond's disease It is also applied in neurosciences (in experiments with lab animals) to understand the functioning of hypophysis.

Morris Simmonds

German physician and pathologist.

His name is associated with "Simmonds' disease", defined as a form of hypopituitarism in which all pituitary secretions are lacking.