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Cancer can affect even small glands like the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are responsible for the production of hormones like cortisol and aldosterone. These glands are located above the kidneys and have two parts; the cortex and the medulla. Adrenal cancer generally affects the cortex of the adrenal glands. This type of cancerous tumour is rare and can be difficult to diagnose.
Most adrenal cancer symptoms are triggered by an excessive production of estrogen and androgen. Symptoms can also be caused by the pressure put on other organs by the tumour. Adrenal cancer symptoms are most easily noticeable in children as this is the stage where the body is changing and developing. Some of these symptoms are:
- Facial hair growth
- Excessive pubic and underarm hair
- An enlarged penis or clitoris
- Early onset of puberty in girls
- Development of enlarged breasts in boys
Symptoms of adrenal cancer in adults includes:
- Excessive weight gain in the abdomen and above the collar bone
- High blood pressure
- Irregular menstruation
- Easy bruising
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Muscle cramps
Additionally, men with adrenal cancer that causes excessive estrogen production may notice an enlargement of breast tissue and tenderness in the area. Women suffering from excessive androgen production triggered by adrenal cancer may notice their voice deepening and facial hair growth. In most cases, adrenal cancer symptoms in women do not appear until the tumour presses on other organs. This includes symptoms like pain around the tumor, a feeling of fullness in the abdomen and difficulty eating because of this feeling.
The cause of adrenal cancer has not yet been determined, but conditions such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis and multiple endocrine neoplasia can increase a person’s risk of suffering from this disease. A thorough physical examination and a detailed medical history is required to diagnose this disease. The doctor will also need a blood test and urine test. Additional tests that may be required include:
Adrenal cancer can be cured if diagnosed in its early stages. There are three types of treatment for adrenal cancer; surgery to remove the adrenal gland, chemotherapy and radiation. However, adrenal cancer can recur and hence it is important to schedule and maintain regular check-ups with your doctor.
Every woman likes to look into the mirror and find not an extra strand of hair on her face, be it the upper lip or near the ears. While it is not uncommon for women to have hair on these and other areas, most women resort to multiple ways to get rid of this. The pattern of this unnecessary hair growth is very similar to the pattern seen in males normally.
This condition of excessive hair growth is known as hirsutism and can be caused by multiple causes, as listed below.
- Genetic or racial: While the European women have a more clean face that is free of hair, the Mediterranean and Indian women are highly likely to have more facial hair growth. There is also a strong family history relation, and it is hereditary.
- Androgens (testosterone): This is a male hormone, essential for the development of male sexual characters. Though it is present in very minute amounts in all women, in some, there could be higher than these minimal levels, leading to minor masculine characters, facial hair being one of them.
- Hormonal imbalances: There are multiple hormonal issues which can manifest as increased facial hair growth. The two most common ones include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and adrenal conditions including tumours, Cushing's syndrome, and hyperplasia. In all these cases, there is increased amount of androgens, leading to excessive facial hair.
- Medication side effect: Some medications like testosterone, cyclosporine, anabolic steroids, and Minoxidil also lead to increased amounts of facial hair in women. Some other medications used to treat migraines, seizures, schizophrenia, and hypertension can also cause hirsutism. This is indirectly due to increased levels of male hormones in the system, producing these effects.
- Birth control pills: These also affect the hormone levels and lead to increased facial hair.
- Obesity: Most women with facial hair are also on the heavier side, and most people have a reduction in hair once weight is managed.
Treatment: The underlying cause should be treated for controlling hair growth. If there is an inducing medication, an alternative should be looked at. While hormone levels can be altered, in most cases, not much can be done. These need to be dealt with using one of the following methods - depilatory creams, waxing, plucking, shaving, laser reduction, electrolysis, and weight loss.
When reading through the above, it is obvious that a lot of causes for hirsutism point towards hormones. This also helps identify hormonal abnormalities in the earlier stages. This helps to identify hormonal disorders in their earlier stages, which are managed with lesser complications. The next time you feel there is more hair on your chin or cheeks, get your hormone levels checked.
Strokes occur when blood to the brain gets interrupted or reduced. When this occurs, brain cells begin to die as they don't get enough nutrients and oxygen. Such life-threatening episodes can strike you anytime.
Many myths surround this medical condition:
Myth 1: Women don't suffer from strokes
The opposite is true. It is women who suffer strokes more often than men. This is because women tend to live longer than men whose longevity gets affected by heart disease. Since they live longer than men, they tend to be more vulnerable to strokes.
Myth 2: Strokes aren't easy to recognise
Myth 3: Strokes are a form of heart attack
Although strokes and heart attacks are closely related, they are not the same. In strokes, blood supply to the brain gets interrupted; on the other hand, in heart attacks, blood supply to the heart gets severely affected.
Myth 4: Only older people suffer from strokes
This isn't true young people can experience strokes as well. About a quarter of stroke cases are reported by people aged 65 and below. More importantly, irrespective of the age group, the warning signs are the same; it is only in response that differences can be found between younger and older people.
Myth 5: Strokes can't be prevented
Through changes in your lifestyle, strokes can easily be prevented. You can reduce your chances of getting a stroke by having a balanced diet, exercising, keeping an optimum body weight and limiting alcohol consumption as well as quitting smoking. Moreover, up to 80% stroke cases can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Adrenal gland is an endocrinal gland located above the kidney which produces hormones that regulate blood sugar, stress and sexual functions. Any problems in the pituitary gland can affect the adrenal gland as the pituitary gland regulates all the endocrine glands.
Here are the different types of adrenal gland disorders
1. Cushing's disease - This disorder occurs when the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that adrenal glands produce when a body is exposed to stress. The causes of this disease are intake of steroids and tumors present in the pituitary gland. The symptoms are rise in blood pressure, weakness in the muscles and weak bones.
2. Adrenal cancer - Presence of cancerous cells in the adrenal cortex leads to adrenal cancer. The symptoms of this disorder are stomach cramps, blood pressure problems and irregular menstrual cycle.
3. Addison's disease - This disease occurs when the adrenal glands produce less cortisol. This disorder is linked with the immune system as the adrenal glands are attacked by it during this disorder. The symptoms of this disorder are nausea, loss of appetite, constipation and muscle pain.
5. Conn's syndrome - This disorder occurs when the hormone aldosterone is produced in excess by the adrenal glands. The symptoms of this disorder are feeling excessively thirsty, muscle weakness and high blood pressure.