Could Your Afflictions be Adrenal Tumor Symptoms or Something Else?

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

What are the Adrenal Glands?

Adrenal tumor symptoms and the facts about cancerThe adrenal glands are two walnut-sized organs that sit on top of your kidneys. They produce the hormones cortisol, aldosterone, DHEA, norepinephrine and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). When health declines due to environmental toxins, poor diet, and chronic stress, adrenal tumor symptoms may arise.

Adrenal Tumor Symptoms and Cancer

Tumors can form anywhere in the body, including in the adrenal tissue. Some of these tumors are benign, or non-threatening, while others are malignant, or dangerous, and called malignant adrenal cancer. A malignant adrenal cancer often affects the production of the hormones produced by the adrenal gland, usually elevating them to abnormal levels. There are many adrenal tumor symptoms to look for. The overproduction of these hormones is usually the first noticeable symptom. The most common and detectable hormones by laboratory include DHEA-S, pregnenolone, and cortisol. Further symptoms can be caused by the cancer growth becoming too large and pushing against other organs such as the kidney.

What are Some Early Adrenal Tumor Symptoms?

Some early adrenal cancer symptoms from hormonal imbalances include:

  • Weight gain, especially around the abdomen and above the collarbone
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Weakness and loss of muscle mass
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Low libido
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hypoglycemia

Other symptoms from the tumor mass pushing against other organs may include frequent urination or feeling full more easily. Because the adrenal glands are inside the body cavity by some distance, the ability to palpitate adrenal mass is difficult.

What is the Treatment?

Adrenal tumor symptoms and DoctorsOptions for cancer treatment usually include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Other drugs may be prescribed to control the hormone levels giving rise to symptoms. Each specific case should be discussed with a doctor and will depend on the type, stage, and exact location of the cancer.

What Else Could These Symptoms Mean?

Fortunately, adrenal cancer are rather rare compared to other types of cancer. Now if you only suspect you many have adrenal cancer symptoms and haven’t spoken to your doctor, or if tests have already been done that indicate you don’t have an adrenal tumor but you are still experiencing some of the above symptoms, what does this mean?

One very common and yet often completely missed explanation for these symptoms is Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). AFS is a stress induced neuroendocrine disorder caused by poorly functioning adrenals that has reached reached its maximum stress handling capability. For many people, the modern world is a minefield of stress, and the adrenal glands are the body’s stress control center. When overworked for too long without rest, it will no longer work at the optimal level, and its function begins to falter. The early stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome increase cortisol levels enough to cause the same symptoms as listed above.

What Can I Do About It?

Fortunately, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, if discovered in its early stages, is very easy to reverse. The problems is that so many people regard these symptoms such as weight gain, increased tiredness and weakness, and low libido, as a normal part of aging; they don’t suspect anything is wrong until the condition becomes much worse.

In the early stages, the adrenal glands are suffering from overwork, but are not exhausted to the point of breakdown. Scaling back the stresses that first caused the condition and providing nutritional support to rebuild the adrenal glands is usually sufficient to get them back into optimal shape. Recovery is a process.

You need to relax with adrenal tumor symptomsLiving a balanced life is important to keep the adrenal glands healthy throughout your life. In more serious cases when the adrenals are in disrepair, professional guidance may be necessary to navigate a more tricky path to optimal adrenal health.

If you have adrenal cancer symptoms, but don’t have adrenal cancer or have just started researching it, you should educate yourself on Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. It is by far, a more common cause of these symptoms, and by simply living a healthier, more balanced life, you can find relief from these symptoms.

Adrenal Fatigue and NEM Stress Response

When someone is experiencing Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and is concerned that there might be further issues associated with it, it is important to consult a professional to find out what’s really going on. There is a strong link between AFS and the NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response, the circuitry through which our bodies respond to stress.

It’s very important to take care when examining your condition to make sure that you’re not experiencing excess levels of fight and flight response as that alone can contribute to exhaustion and adrenal fatigue. When the NEM Stress Response is fully engaged, the adrenals are forced to work overtime to prepare the body for action. Make sure you look into all of the variables involved in your overall health and you can help connect the dots to help yourself recover from AFS.
© Copyright 2015 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Adrenal tumor symptoms
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Hi Dr.Lam,
I adore your website. I use it to explain to my patients who need a visual, or a '2nd opinion' and the fact you have the 2 letters MD after your name, only backs up and solidifies what I tell my patients as we have the same 'ideals' regarding medicine.