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Apoplexy is bleeding into a cavity or organ. There are a few forms of apoplexy, such as:

  • Adrenal apoplexy—bleeding into the adrenal glands
  • Pituitary apoplexy—bleeding into the pituitary gland

Pituitary Gland
Pituitary Gland Male

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Apoplexy may be caused by:

  • A tumor
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Blood clot
  • An illness
  • Changes in blood volume or blood pressure
  • Problems with blood clotting

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Lack of hormones
  • Prior surgery
  • Bleeding problems
  • Injury
  • Severe blood loss during childbirth


Problems may be:


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

These tests may be done to look for signs of apoplexy:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests

Pictures may be taken. This can be done with:


The goal of treatment is to stabilize the body. Other treatments will depend on the cause site of the apoplexy. For example:

  • Medicine to correct hormonal imbalances
  • Surgery to remove a tumor that is causing problems


There are no known guidelines to prevent this problem.


Hormone Health Network—Endocrine Society

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Canadian Institute for Health Information

Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Pituitary apoplexy . UCLA Health System website. Available at: Accessed October 20, 2020.

Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 5/14/2021