RGV Endocrine Center
Endocrinology, Diabetes, Thyroid, Hormone & Weight Loss Specialists located in McAllen, TX
Adrenal disorders, which are sometimes generally referred to as adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency, can cause problems throughout your body, ranging from fatigue and nausea to abdominal pain and weight gain. At RGV Endocrine Center in McAllen, Texas, Gloria Ortiz, MD, FACE, ECNU and her team specialize in diagnosing adrenal disorders and using the most up-to-date treatments available to restore your health. To schedule an appointment, call the office today.
What hormones are produced by the adrenal glands?
You have two adrenal glands located above your kidneys. These glands produce hormones such as:
Cortisol is commonly called the stress hormone because it’s automatically released in response to dangerous and stressful situations. Cortisol also reduces inflammation and helps control your metabolism, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
This hormone primarily controls blood pressure and blood levels of sodium and potassium, which are essential for nerves and muscles.
Adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine)
These hormones energize the body systems needed during the fight-or-flight response.
DHEA and androgenic steroids
These hormones are converted into estrogen and androgens, or male hormones.
What are the different types of adrenal disorders?
Some patients experience adrenal fatigue, which can cause symptoms of adrenal insufficiency like fatigue, body aches, nervousness, and digestive issues. However, others who experience similar symptoms may develop a full-blown adrenal disorder, such as:
Addison’s disease, also called primary adrenal insufficiency, occurs when your adrenal glands don’t produce enough cortisol and aldosterone. Primary adrenal insufficiency develops when the adrenal glands are damaged, often due to an autoimmune disorder or tumor.
If you have Addison’s disease, you may experience:
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle weakness
- Joint pain
- Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
Your adrenal glands respond to hormones that come from the pituitary gland. As a result, you can also develop secondary adrenal insufficiency when there’s something wrong with your pituitary gland.
You develop Cushing’s syndrome when the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. Cushing’s causes symptoms, such as:
- Weight gain, especially in the abdomen
- Fat deposits in the upper back, face, and between the shoulders
- Thin arms and legs
- Stretch marks
- Thin skin
- Easy bruising
- Slow-healing cuts
Taking corticosteroids and having a tumor in your adrenal or pituitary glands are the most common causes of Cushing’s syndrome.
Adrenal nodules and tumors
When nodules or tumors develop in the adrenal glands, they can actively produce adrenal hormones. Your symptoms depend on which hormone is overproduced.
You may develop an:
- Excess of cortisol, causing Cushing’s syndrome
- Excess of aldosterone, causing high blood pressure and muscles aches and weakness
- Excess of adrenaline or noradrenaline, causing headaches, sweating, tremors, and a fast heartbeat
Adrenal cancer is rare, so most tumors are benign.
How are adrenal disorders treated?
The treatment you receive depends on the type of adrenal disorder you’re experiencing. In most cases, however, treatment options include medications, hormone replacement therapy, and dietary changes. You may need surgery to remove the nodule or tumor if they produce hormones.
If you have questions about your symptoms or you need ongoing care for adrenal fatigue or an adrenal disorder, call RGV Endocrine Center to book an appointment today.
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