Tumors of the adrenal gland are classified as either functioning or nonfunctioning:
A functioning adrenocortical tumor overproduces certain hormones. It may trigger symptoms.
A nonfunctioning adrenocortical tumor doesn't secrete hormones. It may not cause symptoms early on.
The symptoms associated with functioning adrenocortical tumors vary. They depend on which hormones are overproduced and on the patient's age.
Cortisol helps the body use sugar, protein, and fats. Having too much of this hormone may cause
weight gain in the abdomen, face, neck, and chest
excessive hair growth on the face, chest, back, or arms
purple or pink stretch marks on the belly
a lump of fat behind the neck and shoulders
deepening of the voice
swelling of the sex organs or breasts (in men and women)
irregular menstrual periods (in women)
severe fatigue and muscle weakness
moodiness and/or depression
high blood sugar
high blood pressure.
Some of these symptoms are also characteristic of Cushing syndrome. This noncancerous condition affects the pituitary gland in the brain.
Aldosterone helps control the balance of water and salts in the kidney. Having too much of this hormone may lead to
high blood pressure
muscle weakness or cramps
fluid build-up in the body's tissues
Androgens and estrogen are hormones that help develop and maintain sex characteristics that distinguish males and females.The major androgen is testosterone. Women with too much testosterone may have
hair growth on the face and body
a deepening of the voice
Women who have too much estrogen may experience
irregular menstrual periods
menstrual bleeding (if they have stopped having periods).
Men with too much estrogen may have
breast growth and tenderness
lower sex drive
inability to get or maintain an erection.
In children, the symptoms are different. An adrenal tumor that produces male sex hormones can cause
excessive facial, pubic, and underarm hair
an enlarged penis (in boys)
an enlarged clitoris (in girls).
A tumor that secretes female sex hormones in children can set off
early puberty (in girls)
breast enlargement (in boys).
Some patients experience symptoms when the tumor grows and presses on nearby organs and tissues. This may be felt as a lump or pain near the tumor, fullness in the belly, or trouble with eating or weight loss.
If you or your child has these symptoms, discuss them with your doctor right away.