The Effect of Radiation on Human Growth Hormone Levels

Written by Professor Anna Gray, Updated on June 1st, 2024
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I'm Chris. I'm a weightlifter by night and an investment advisor by day. I recently had some skin lesions that the doctor called "melanomas, " which he thought could become cancerous.

So he removed them and gave me some radiation treatments to ensure all the melanoma was gone.

After the radiation treatments, I've started to gain weight, lose muscle (no matter how hard I train), and always feel tired. All I want to do is nap. That's totally unlike the way I used to be!

None of the general practitioners I've seen seem to know what's wrong with me. Then I read online that I might be suffering from a kind of HGH (human growth hormone) deficiency that's brought on by radiation therapy -- a side effect, as it were.

Is that at all possible? If so, what can I do about it? I can't un-radiate myself. I'm at a loss.

You may be experiencing HGH deficiency as a side effect of radiation therapy. Radiation therapy can damage the pituitary gland, which is responsible for producing HGH. This can lead to several symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced bone density
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Cognitive impairment

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, coming into our clinic and seeing our board-certified specialists is crucial.

They can perform a blood test to measure your HGH levels and determine if you do indeed have HGH deficiency. If you do have HGH deficiency, many treatments can help you improve your symptoms.

One treatment option for HGH deficiency is hormone replacement therapy. This involves injecting synthetic HGH into the body. Hormone replacement therapy can help to improve symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and weight gain.

Another thing you can do – even once your hormone replacement therapy has begun, is continue to exercise. Don’t give up on that just because your performance is impaired and you’re not at your peak now. Exercise can help to increase HGH levels naturally.

You should also make sure to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep. A healthy diet and sleep can help to improve your overall health and well-being.

Isn't there some way to shield the pituitary gland from radiation during ration therapy so that it isn't damaged?

Yes, there are a few ways to shield the pituitary gland from radiation during radiation therapy. One way is to use a lead shield.

Lead shields are designed to absorb radiation and can be placed over the pituitary gland to protect it from damage.

Another way to shield the pituitary gland is to use a particular type of radiation therapy called stereotactic radiosurgery.

Stereotactic radiosurgery uses high-dose radiation to target a tumor, and it can be used to protect the pituitary gland from damage that might be caused by a more widely dispersed kind of radiation.

Talking to your doctor about the best way to shield your pituitary gland from radiation during radiation therapy is critical. Your doctor will be able to assess your situation and recommend the best treatment.

Here are some additional details about the two methods mentioned above:

  • Lead shields: Lead shields are typically made of a thin sheet of lead placed over the body's area surrounding the pituitary gland. The lead shield helps to absorb the radiation, which reduces the amount of radiation that reaches the pituitary gland. Lead shields are a relatively simple and inexpensive way to shield the pituitary gland from radiation. However, they can be bulky and uncomfortable to wear and may not be effective in all cases. (If the melanoma that is being treated is too close to the pituitary gland, this might not be practical.)
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery: Stereotactic radiosurgery is a type of radiation therapy that uses high-dose radiation to target a tumor. The high-dose radiation is delivered in a single treatment, which can help to protect the surrounding tissue from damage. Many doctors consider stereotactic radiosurgery to be a more effective way to shield the pituitary gland from radiation than lead shields. However, it is also more expensive and requires more specialized equipment.

If you are considering radiation therapy, it is essential to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of such therapy. Your doctor will be able to assess your situation and recommend the best treatment.

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