adrenal gland

Has anyone had only one adrenal gland taken out? I had to have mine (left) removed due to a large tumor that destroyed it. On my last visit to the doctor, he said that I didn't need any drugs to counteract any problems with having just one. I can't find any information on the subject and wonder if anyone knows where I can look.

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As long as you still have one good adrenal gland, it will compensate for the cortisol that the other one should be making. Have you had other tumors? Did the doctor do any tests for why you had the tumor?

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Wow, you had one adrenal gland removed due to a tumor and no symptoms or diagnosis?

I developed Cushing's Syndrome due to a large adrenal andenoma. It produced tons of cortisol, and I figure I went un-diagnosed for 8 years! Towards the end I had gained 80 pounds, became very weak due to all the cortisol depleting my muscles and bones.

It's very interesting you don't have a diagnosis other than 'adrenal tumor'. How did they know to look there or test you? What were your symptoms? Did you see an Endochronologist?

My other adrenal gland shrunk and went basically into hybernation since the other one was taking over. Now that my tumor has been removed, my other adrenal gland is still inadequate. So I'm slowely tapering off of Hydrocortisone, completely hopefully in the next year or so. Been a very slow recovery.

Hope that's all you had, you're lucky!


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I had a left adrenalectomy in Sept 2009. My AcTh and
cortisol have been in a little out of whack since-not excessively. My thyroid went a little haywire following surgery-I have a history of hypothyroidism. I did not take any meds for the adrenal following sx or to this date. I also had a very large tumor that doubled in size in a year. I have had no major complications to date and actually feel much better in most ways since the surgery-not a single migraine-though my endo can not tell me why. I was having at least 2-3 a month that were terrible.
If there is anything I can answer for you-just ask

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I had a Pheochromocytoma that had gotten so big that it destroyed my left adrenal gland. I went for years with having migrane headaches and what I thought were severe panic attacks. When no medicine worked, my doctor had me go have some tests to see if it was a heart problem. For some reason, she had an ultra sound done on my kidneys and after a cat scan, the tumor was found. The reason that it went undected for so long was because I didn't have the high blood pressure associated with the condition. For that matter I had low blood pressure that even surprised the doctors. The doctor told me that after the surgery, I would not need any medicine to help the fact that I only had one adrenal gland, but somehow I just don't see that. I have NO adrenaline at all any more and wonder if there is another problem going on. I lost my insurance when my husband lost his job and so I have to place to go to find out if there is something wrong.

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Yes, in Sept. 09, I had my right adernal gland removed due to large tumor and was diagnosis with phebohromocyroma. I always had very high blood pressure and my PCP for years blamed tension (which I had alot of family problems) and menopause. Finally felt so bad insisted my PCP find out why. Cat scan showed tumors on both glands but the right was 6 cms so they removed. They told me as long as I had one gland no meds were necessary but every year will need MRI to check tumor on the left gland. Well, in Sept. 10, MRI shows the left gland is growing but my blood works was within normal ranges. PCP wants another MRI sometime in May, 2011 to continue check up of remaining tumor. When asked if this one needs to be removed what will happens, he did not discuss only told me he would get into treatment if tumor is removed. Does anyone know anything about treatment or what happens if both glands need to be removed?


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Hi Louisianagranny, People who have both adrenal glands removed, and many people who have part of their adrenal glands removed, must take corticosteroids for life.

This is from an abstract "surgery to remove an adrenal gland
The most common treatment for a pheochromocytoma is surgical removal of the entire affected adrenal gland. In most cases, signs and symptoms then disappear. Blood pressure usually returns to normal soon after surgery. Before surgery, your doctor will prescribe medications to block the effects of the adrenal hormones and control blood pressure. If both adrenal glands are affected by pheochromocytoma and are surgically removed, you'll need to take medication to replace the other hormones once produced by these glands.

I had a left adrenal tumor and Cushing's disease, when the tumor was removed i was put on hydrocortisone as my right adrenal was not working. It took 17 months for the other adrenal to work and i am not on any corticosteroids.

Wishing you all the best


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Hey Anne,

What are the side effects, if any, from the medications? I still take high blood pressure medication daily but not the amount I was taking before the removal of my right adrenal gland, but I'm still having swelling with leg and ankle pain. Also, trouble sleeping, either going to sleep or staying asleep all night. Plus clinching pain from side to side like cramps, is this weird of what? Any info will help,



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I had one adrenal gland removed and I was fine without any additional drugs. The remaining gland apparently did the whole job pretty well. I have now had the other one removed and that's a whole different ballgame - replacement drugs are necessary now. Good luck!

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Hi, my name is Cheryl and I had a right adrenalectomy about 3 years ago due to a tumor and cushings disease. I am trying to find out how people cope with the other gland ceasing to work. My doctor wants me back at an endo because I appear to be developing cushings again, my weight is increasing again, and I cannot shake a bout of bronchitis for the last 6 weeks, not to mention my body feels like it is bruised all over if anyone touches me. Has anyone had anything similar? I can't tolerate prednisone on a daily basis as it gives me horrible migraines so I have been going in for steriod shots about every 3 - 4 months.

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Cheryl, you can also try hydrocortisone on a daily basis. You may not get the same headaches as hydrocortisone works with your body better. Could you also have a tumor in your other adrenal? Have you had tumors in other parts of your body? It sounds to me like you had a pheochromacytoma, which can give you heart palpitations, and your blood pressure goes all over the place.

If you have to get both adrenals out, then you do have to replace every day, but it doesn't have to be prednisone. I also don't think steroid shots every 3-4 months would help as you really need the daily replacement. If you have another tumor, you might want to ask your doctor about any medical syndrome you might have (for example, VHL).

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