Sheehan’s syndrome is a form of hypopituitarism that occurs in women after delivering a baby, as a result of infarction within the adenohypophysis caused by massive uterine hemorrhage and hypovolemia.
Typically, these women are unable to lactate for their newborn and have persistent amenorrhea and symptoms of hypocortisolemia and hypothyroidism. Pituitary MRI imaging shows an atrophic or small pituitary gland and, sometimes, an empty sella.
Pathologic studies have shown replacement of organizing necrotic areas by a fibrous scar. The pituitary gland cannot regenerate; new cells do not form to replace the necrotized cells.
With modernization of medicine and improved obstetric care, the incidence of Sheehan’s syndrome has plummeted in industrialized countries.