Common Symptoms

Common Symptoms

What Are Symptoms of Cushing's Syndrome?

It's important to know that not all people with Cushing's syndrome exhibit the same symptoms.1,2 Everyone is different. Your healthcare professional may give you a physical exam, order lab tests, and then refer you to an endocrinologist.2,4

Possible physical symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome
  • Hair growth on the abdomen, face, neck, and/or thighs
  • Hair loss (for women)
  • Rounding of the face (aka “moon face”)
  • Excess fat on the back of the neck (aka “buffalo hump”)
  • Dark red or purple stretch marks
  • Excess weight gain concentrated more in the abdomen, less in the arms and legs
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bruising easily
  • Thin skin
  • Poor skin healing
  • Swelling of tissues, usually in the legs
  • Depression
  • Problems sleeping
  • Decreased concentration
  • Decreased sexual drive
  • Irritability
  • Impaired memory
  • Pituitary-related Cushing’s (Cushing’s disease) accounts for more than 70% of cases in adults
  • Cushing's syndrome is more common in adults between the ages of 20 and 50
  • Females account for 70% of all Cushing's syndrome cases

More often than not, symptoms alone are not enough to diagnose Cushing's syndrome.1,3

The best way to diagnose Cushing's syndrome is through tests conducted by a healthcare professional, like an endocrinologist, who can measure ACTH and cortisol levels in your body.1,2

After lab tests, your healthcare professional may order an MRI scan or a CT scan in order to see if a tumor is causing your symptoms.4

  1. Frequently asked questions about transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas. Massachusetts General Hospital Web site. http://www.massgeneral.org/neurosurgery/services/faq_surgery_adenoma_nendoc.aspx. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  2. Cushing's Syndrome and Cushing's Disease: Your Question's Answered. The Pituitary Society Web site. http://www.pituitarysociety.org/public/specific/cushing/cushings.pdf. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  3. Nieman LK, Biller BMK, Findling JW, et al, eds. The Diagnosis of Cushing's Syndrome: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. Chevy Chase, MD: The Endocrine Society; 2008. https://www.endocrine.org/~/media/endosociety/Files/Publications/Clinical%20Practice%20Guidelines/Cushings_Guideline.pdf. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  4. Adrenal diseases: Cushing's syndrome. The facts you need to know. National Adrenal Diseases Foundation Web site. http://www.nadf.us/diseases/cushings.htm. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  5. Cushing's syndrome/disease. American Association of Neurological Surgeons Web site. http://www.aans.org/en/Patient Information/Conditions and Treatments/Cushings Disease.aspx. Accessed April 13, 2013.