Empty Sella Syndrome (ESS)

Definition - What does Empty Sella Syndrome (ESS) mean?

Empty sella syndrome (ESS) is a condition in which the pituitary gland is flattened or misshaped. The pituitary gland is responsible for releasing hormones into the body, including the hormones involved with reproduction. In rare cases ESS may cause infertility. However, many people with ESS experience no symptoms, and require no treatment.

ESS may also be called empty sella turcica.

FertilitySmarts explains Empty Sella Syndrome (ESS)

The pituitary gland sits at the base of the skull, inside a compartment known as the sella turcica. If the sella turcica is abnormally shaped or becomes damaged by a tumor or trauma, it may cause a disruption to the pituitary gland. This disruption is what is known as ESS.

If ESS has caused damage to the pituitary gland, hormone disruption may occur. Sperm production in the testicles and egg maturation and release in the ovaries are controlled by the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland. Therefore, if the gland is not functioning properly, it can contribute to infertility.

Most people who have ESS show no signs or symptoms of the condition; it is most often diagnosed accidentally during an x-ray for an unrelated situation. When symptoms do exist, the most common course of treatment is hormone replacement therapy. In rare cases, surgery might be necessary to restore structure to the sella turcica.

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