Overactive adrenal glands (Cushing's syndrome)
If your child’s adrenal glands produce excessive amounts of certain hormones, they are said to be overactive. The symptoms (and treatment) of overactive adrenal glands depends on which hormone is being overproduced.
Some of the most commonly overproduced hormones are:
Androgenic steroids (also known as androgen hormones)
- Testosterone is one of the most well-known androgen hormones. Excessive production of this or other androgen hormones can lead to exaggerated male characteristics in both men and women (like excess hair on the face and body, baldness, acne, a deeper voice and increased muscle mass).
- If a female fetus is exposed to high levels of androgens early during a mother’s pregnancy, her genitals may develop abnormally. Young boys who experience high levels of androgen levels may grow faster, but their bones may also mature faster and stop growing too soon.
- Overproduction of aldosterone hormone can lead to high blood pressure and to symptoms associated with low levels of potassium (like weakness, muscle aches, spasms and sometimes paralysis).
- An overproduction of corticosteroids leads to the condition known as Cushing’s syndrome. Rare in children, it’s more commonly seen in adults.