The pituitary gland is a small, bean-shaped gland behind the bridge of the nose and below the base of the brain. It is often referred to as the ''master gland'', because it controls several of the other hormone glands (e.g. adrenals, thyroid). The pituitary gland produces hormones that regulate growth, metabolism, pubertal development and sexual function. Disorders of the pituitary gland refer to over or under production of one or more of its hormones; this is usually due to benign tumour (adenoma) in adults. Pituitary tumour can also be non functional and can cause pressure symptoms such as headache and visual disturbances due to involvement of surrounding structures. Pituitary disease can also be life threatening (pituitary apoplexy, due to either bleeding or lack of blood supply to the gland).