What are the symptoms of adrenal tumors?

Symptoms depend on which type of tumor you have and where it is located. Common symptoms can include:
  • A rise in blood pressure
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Weakness
  • Increased thirst or urination
Aldosteronomas may cause difficult to control hypertension, low serum potassium levels, overall weakness, intense thirst, frequent urination, low potassium and high sodium (salt). Cortisol producing tumors can cause many symptoms including:
  • Abdominal obesity and wide discolored stretch marks
  • Unexplained weight gain, rounding of the face, or thinning of the arms and legs
  • Increased fat behind the neck
  • Easy bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Depression
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Osteoporosis        

Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas can cause:

  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Palpitations
  • Anxiety and fear
  • High blood sugar

Adrenal cortical carcinomas can cause: 

  • Weight gain
  • Fluid retention (leading to bloating)
  • Unusual excess hair growth
  • Unusual skin changes

If the carcinoma presses against other organs, it may cause abdominal pain, a feeling of fullness and unexpected weight loss.

How are adrenal tumors diagnosed?

To diagnose adrenal tumors and determine the proper course of treatment, we may use:

  • Laboratory tests to measure the levels of specific hormones in your body
  • Imaging, such as computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine scan, and whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) scans, to pinpoint the tumor’s location
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