This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Sheehan syndrome affects the function of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland makes hormones and regulates other glands and many body processes, including reproduction. The cause of Sheehan syndrome is severe blood loss during or after childbirth (postpartum hemorrhage). This leads to lack of blood flow to the front part of the pituitary gland, causing it to gradually stop functioning. The symptoms of Sheehan syndrome occur as a result of the low hormone levels. These may include an inability to produce breast milk, irregular or absent periods, hot flashes, and a decreased sex drive. Other symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, low blood pressure, and hair loss. Symptoms usually do not appear from months to years after the hemorrhage. In some cases, the symptoms occur immediately and may be more severe and sometimes life threatening. Sheehan syndrome is diagnosed based on the symptoms, clinical history and exam, laboratory testing, and imaging studies. Treatment includes hormone replacement therapy, and steroids to help manage early symptoms.
For more information, visit GARD.