What is hypothalmic dysfunction?

What is hypothalmic dysfunction?

The hypothalamus refers to a very small area near the pituitary gland. Though the region is small, it performs a number of vital functions. It produces hormones that regulate body temperature, mood, and hunger. The hypothalamus also controls the production and release of hormones by the pituitary gland.

The pituitary, in turn, controls the functioning of the adrenal glands, thyroid, ovaries and testes. A condition wherein the hypothalamus does not function optimally is known as hypothalamic dysfunction. This can affect a person's weight, sex drive, emotions, behavior, body clock, child birth and the production of breast milk.

Symptoms of Hypothalamic Dysfunction

Not everyone suffering from this condition has the same symptoms. The symptoms depend largely on the number of hormones that are not being produced. In the case of children with hypothalamic dysfunction, growth may be stunted or excessive. They may also have an early or late onset of puberty.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism caused by hypothalamic dysfunction:

  • Intolerance to cold
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarseness
  • Changes in skin or hair
  • Impotence
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Weight gain

Symptoms of low adrenal functioning caused by hypothalamic dysfunction:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble regulating body temperature
  • Excessive thirst
  • Uncontrolled urination
  • Obesity
  • Emotional problems

Symptoms of tumours that cause hypothalamic dysfunction:

  • Loss of vision
  • Headaches

Symptoms of Kallmann's syndrome:

This is a type of hypothalamic dysfunction that affects men.

  • Inability to smell
  • Reduced functioning of the sexual hormones

Treatment and Causes

The treatment for hypothalamic dysfunction depends on the factors causing it. The treatment may take the form of hormone supplements, surgery, radiation etc.
In some cases, the exact cause of hypothalamic dysfunction may be unknown. This is referred to as idiopathic hypothalamic dysfunction. Some of the common causes of hypothalamic dysfunction are:

  • Birth defects affecting the hypothalamus or the brain
  • Genetic disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Head trauma
  • Tumours
  • Infections caused by bacteria, virus or fungi
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Malnutrition
  • Previous surgery
  • Cranial radiation
  • High amounts of iron

Take the right treatment at the right time so that you do not have to worry in the future.