Cushing’s Syndrome Symptoms

Abdominal Weight Gain, Thin Arms and Legs, and Other Cushing’s Syndrome Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of Cushing's syndrome—also called hypercortisolism—can vary, and not everyone with Cushing's syndrome will experience the same symptoms. This article discusses common Cushing's syndrome symptoms.

Classic Cushing's Syndrome Signs and Symptoms

  • A round, red face (called a moon face)
  • Increased fat around the neck
  • Slowed growth and obesity (in children)
  • Thin arms and legs
  • Weight gain, especially in the upper body and around the stomach

Although these are the most common Cushing's syndrome symptoms, there are a variety of other symptoms associated with this condition.

Other Cushing's Syndrome Symptoms

  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Back pain that occurs with everyday activities
  • Bone pain and/or tenderness
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fat accumulation between the shoulders (known as a buffalo hump)
  • Headaches
  • High blood glucose levels
  • In men: decreased fertility and erectile dysfunction
  • In women: excessive hair growth on the face, neck, chest, abdomen, and thighs, as well as irregular or absent menstrual periods
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Low sex drive
  • Poor healing of wounds
  • Purple and/or pink stretch marks that appear on the arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs
  • Skin can become very thin and fragile and may bruise more easily
  • Weakened muscles, especially in the hips and shoulders

It's important to be aware that Cushing's syndrome symptoms can actually mimic other conditions such as metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome—so it's essential that you take note of your symptoms. Write them down so you can discuss them with your doctor.

If you think you could have Cushing's syndrome and you have many of the Cushing's syndrome signs and symptoms listed in this article, talk to your doctor. He or she will do a physical exam and run some tests to see if you have Cushing's syndrome. If you do, your doctor will get you started on a Cushing's syndrome treatment plan right away.