Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.


Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version

Sheehan syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • Postpartum hypopituitarism
  • Postpartum panhypopituitarism
  • Postpartum panhypopituitary syndrome
  • Postpartum pituitary necrosis
  • Simmond's disease
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.


Newline Maker

What are the signs and symptoms of Sheehan syndrome?

The pituitary gland produces hormones that stimulate breast milk production, growth, reproductive functions, the thyroid and the adrenal glands. A lack of these hormones can lead to a variety of symptoms.[1] While some women may experience early symptoms such as difficulty breastfeeding or an inability to breastfeed (breast milk never "comes in"), in most cases the signs and symptoms of Sheehan syndrome develop slowly, sometimes over a period of months or even years.[2] For many, symptoms become apparent when the body is stressed by  infection or surgery some period of time after delivery. This type of stressor can lead to an adrenal crisis.[3][2] Symptoms that may develop include:[3][1][2]

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Dizziness
  • Amenorrhea
  • Oligomenorrhea (infrequent menstrual periods)
  • Hot flashes
  • Decreased libido
  • Loss of pubic and underarm hair
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed mental functioning
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty staying warm   
Last updated: 8/25/2011

  1. Vorvick L, Storck S. Sheehan syndrome. MedlinePlus. 2008; Accessed 2/23/2010.
  2. Sheehan's syndrome. 2009; Accessed 2/23/2010.
  3. Schrager S, Sabo L. J Am Board Fam Med. 2001; Accessed 2/23/2010.