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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Sheehan syndrome


Other Names for this Disease
  • Postpartum hypopituitarism
  • Postpartum panhypopituitarism
  • Postpartum panhypopituitary syndrome
  • Postpartum pituitary necrosis
  • Simmond's disease
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Your Question

I am curious to know if there is a genetic link to Sheehan syndrome. My maternal grandmother hemorrhaged after her 5th child and ended up losing all of the hair on her body, less the hair on her head. My maternal aunt also hemorrhaged after her 4th child and she too lost all body hair less the hair on her head. Neither were diagnosed with Sheehan syndrome at that time.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Is genetics associated with Sheehan syndrome in any way?

Sheehan syndrome is not considered a genetic or inherited disorder; there are no genes known to cause the condition and it has not been shown to "run in families". However, there is speculation about possible risk factors that might increase the chance for postpartum hemorrhage in some individuals. Theoretically, an individual could be genetically predisposed to having or developing some of these proposed risk factors for Sheehan syndrome. These risk factors include:[1][2]

It has also been proposed that bleeding disorders (many of which are genetic) may play a role in predisposition to bleeding in individuals with Sheehan syndrome.[3] In general, further studies on the causes and risk factors for Sheehan syndrome are needed.

Last updated: 8/29/2011

References
  • Alex H. Tessnow and Jean D. Wilson. The Changing Face of Sheehan’s Syndrome. Am J Med Sci. November 2010; 340(5):402-406.
  • Fahrettin Kelestimur. Sheehan's syndrome. Pituitary. 2003; 6(4):181-188.
  • Gokalp D, Tuzcu A, Bahceci M, Ayyildiz O, Erdemoglu M, Alpagat G. Assessment of bleeding disorders in Sheehan's syndrome: are bleeding disorders the underlying cause of Sheehan's syndrome?. Platelets. 2011; 22(2):92-97. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21133650. Accessed 8/29/2011.