Specialties

Adrenal Gland Disorders

What are the Adrenal Glands?

These organs are located just above each kidney. The adrenal glands are two, hormone-producing glands, sometimes called endocrine glands. The adrenal-produced hormones consist of cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline hormones, and some of the body’s sex hormones. These hormones help the body regulate its blood pressure, glucose usage, water usage, and the “flight or fight” reaction in times of stress.

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Why do the Adrenal glands have problems?

Diseases that involve the adrenal glands are rare. One of the most common reasons that adrenal surgery is needed to remove an adrenal gland is over production of adrenal hormones. Over production of hormones is usually caused by small tumors that are not cancers. In very rare cases, very large tumors may require removal of the adrenal gland if they are suspicious for cancer, sometimes referred to as malignant. The adrenal glands can usually be removed with laparoscopic techniques.

What are some of the symptoms of adrenal gland problems?

Symptoms that physicians and patients can see are related to the overproduction of the adrenal hormones. Some symptoms could be related to very high blood pressure, headaches, rapid heart rate, and sweating all that last from several seconds to minutes.

Other excess hormones can cause high blood sugar, menstrual irregularities, fragile skin, prominent stretch marks, low blood potassium levels, and frequent urination.

An adrenal gland tumor that can be cancerous can produce no hormones at all, but if bigger than 2 inches can still require surgery to remove an adrenal gland tumor. These cancers that cause no symptoms are sometimes found by chance when a patient gets an X-ray study for an unrelated problem.

Surgery to remove the adrenal gland is the preferred treatment for patients with adrenal tumors that secrete excess hormones or large adrenal tumors. Your Surgeon will provide the proper workup (special X-rays and labs test) prior to surgery, and discuss the technique of adrenal surgery in detail with you in the office.

Our adrenal glands patients come to us from Greensboro, Kernersville, Winston-Salem, Burlington, High Point and nearby communities.