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What Should You Know About Adrenal Adenoma?

What Should You Know About Adrenal Adenoma?

An adrenal adenoma is a medical condition characterized by the presence of a non-cancerous tumor in the adrenal glands. These small, usually benign, growths can impact hormone production, leading to various health concerns. According to studies, it's estimated that about 2% of the general population has an adrenal adenoma.

With a proper understanding of adrenal adenoma, you will know that this simple condition is commonly harmless and can be easily managed. In this blog, you will learn everything about adrenal adenoma.

What Is an Adrenal Adenoma?

An adrenal adenoma is a benign or non-cancerous tumor that can develop in your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands, situated just above your kidneys, are critical to your body. They create a range of hormones that regulate several essential processes, including blood pressure and metabolism. 

In most cases, an adrenal adenoma doesn't cause trouble and only takes place inside your body. However, there can be a chance that your adrenal adenoma can make the same hormones as your adrenal glands. The extra hormones from the tumor can lead to several conditions.

Types of Adrenal Adenomas You Can Have

There are two types of adrenal adenomas you can have. They are as follows:

  • Functioning (active) Adrenal Adenomas: These tumors secrete excessive adrenal gland hormones and may cause symptoms. There are also times when higher levels of hormones released by the tumor can lead to severe conditions that require treatment.
  • Nonfunctioning (inactive) Adrenal Adenomas: This type of tumor doesn't produce an excessive amount of adrenal hormones. The majority of adrenal adenomas don't function, and they don't have any symptoms that need any treatment.

Can an Adrenal Adenoma Become Cancerous?

The chance of an adrenal adenoma becoming cancerous is extremely low. According to NCBI, less than 1% of these tumors are cancerous. Adrenocortical carcinoma is the most frequent type of cancerous tumor that develops in your adrenal glands. Functioning adrenocortical carcinoma tumors release excess hormones, much like adrenal adenomas do. They usually produce symptoms akin to those of a functioning adrenal adenoma. 

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Symptoms of an Adrenal Adenoma

Adrenal adenoma doesn't have many noticeable symptoms. A functioning adrenal adenoma can cause symptoms associated with having too many hormones in your body, particularly too much cortisol or too much aldosterone. Here is a list of symptoms to look out for:

  • Severe headaches 
  • Occasional weakness and numbness in the muscles.
  • Backaches 
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes 
  • Sudden weight gain in your upper region 
  • Mood swings
  • Irregularities in the menstrual cycle

What Causes Adrenal Adenomas? 

The exact cause of adrenal adenomas, which are small, non-cancerous growths in the adrenal glands, is unclear. However, your chances of developing this type of tumor increase if you have certain genetic conditions, such as:

  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 1 (MEN1)
  • Neurofibromatosis Type 1
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2)
  • Carney complex

How Are Adrenal Tumors Diagnosed?

Most of the time, you won't realize that you have adrenal adenoma, as this condition has fewer noticeable symptoms. Most of the time, the healthcare provider may discover this tumor during an imaging procedure for a different medical condition. Thus, these tumors are sometimes called "incidentalomas" since they are found incidentally or by chance.

Your healthcare provider will first assess if the tumor is malignant or benign. If it's an adrenal adenoma, they will perform various tests to see if it's secreting extra hormones.

See Also: Understand the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Adrenal Cancer

Tests Used to Diagnose Adrenal Adenoma

Various tests can be performed to diagnose an adrenal adenoma. Some of the tests include:

  • Blood and Urine Tests: These tests check for certain hormones that the adrenal glands make. If there's an adenoma, the hormone levels might be different.
  • Imaging Tests: Pictures of the adrenal glands are taken using CT scans or MRIs. This helps doctors see if there are any lumps or growths.
  • Biopsy (rarely): Sometimes, a tiny piece of the growth is taken and examined. However, this is less common, as imaging tests often provide enough information.
  • Adrenal Vein Sampling: In some cases, doctors might take a sample of blood from the veins around the adrenal glands to analyze hormone levels and identify any problems.

Final Thoughts 

Adrenal adenoma is a non-cancerous tumor that occurs in people all across the world. However, you don't need to worry too much, as these tumors are not life-threatening in normal circumstances. With advancements in technology, the success rate and complete removal of these tumors have increased by a significant margin. So, it's only ideal to get these tumors removed before they cause any problems.

Get the Best Adrenal Adenoma Treatment at Far North Surgery in Anchorage, AK

If you have an adrenal adenoma and are looking for treatment, then Far North Surgery is the right place. Our highly competent, board-certified doctors in Anchorage, AK, specialize in offering high-quality care and comprehensive treatment. They also work closely with other specialists to ensure all our patients receive the best possible treatment.

Dr. Madhu Prasad, our experienced surgeon, has been honored with the Best of Anchorage Awards for Cancer Treatment. His proficiency in the latest surgical techniques ensures that you will receive the highest level of care every time you visit our clinic. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment plans.

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