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Sheehan syndrome

  • Definition

    Sheehan syndrome is a condition that may occur in a woman who bleeds severely during childbirth.

    See also: Hypopituitarism


    Alternative Names

    Postpartum hypopituitarism; Postpartum pituitary insufficiency; Hypopituitarism Syndrome


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Severe bleeding during childbirth can cause tissue death in the pituitary gland, which may cause the gland to lose its ability to function properly.

    The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain. It normally produces hormones that stimulate breast milk production, growth, reproductive functions, the thyroid, and the adrenal glands. A lack of these hormones can lead to a variety of symptoms.

    Conditions that increase the risk of bleeding during childbirth and Sheehan syndrome include multiple pregnancies (twins or triplets) and problems with the placenta, the organ that develops during pregnancy to feed the fetus.

    Sheehan syndrome is very rare.