Category: Illness or disabilities
Introduction and description
Sheehan syndrome, also known as Simmond syndrome, postpartum hypopituitarism or postpartum pituitary gland necrosis, is hypopituitarism (decreased functioning of the pituitary gland), caused by ischemic necrosis due to blood loss and hypovolemic shock during and after childbirth.
So, in layman's language a shrinking and killing of the cells of the Pituitary gland caused by blood loss or lowering of the blood pressure during childbirth.
For more details see Pituitary Gland disease
Although named after Harold Sheehan, postpartum ischemic pituitary necrosis was reported for the first time 100 years ago in Przeglad Lekarski by Leon Konrad Gliński.
In the majority of cases, the syndrome is a consequence of severe postpartum bleeding episode resulting in severe hypotension or hemorrhagic shock. The frequency of Sheehan's syndrome has decreased in developed countries as a result of improved obstetrical care, but this clinical entity remains a common cause of hypopituitarism in developing countries.
The syndrome is characterized by varying degrees of anterior pituitary dysfunction resulting from the deficiency of multiple pituitary hormones. The order of frequency of hormone loss has generally been found to be growth hormone and prolactin, gonadotropins, ACTH and thyrotropin.
Women with Sheehan's syndrome exhibit a variety of signs and symptoms including failure to lactate or resume menses, loss of genital and axillary hair, and often occurring long after delivery clinical manifestations of central hypothyroidism and secondary adrenal insufficiency.
Diagnosis is based on laboratory studies, including hormone levels and hormone stimulation tests. Treatment of Sheehan's syndrome involves hormone replacement therapy. PMID: 26817341
References and further reading
Przegl Lek. 2015;72(6):313-20. [Sheehan's syndrome--a forgotten disease with 100 years' history]. [Article in Polish] Krysiak R, Okopień B.