Adrenal adenomas


Adrenal adenomas are non-cancerous tumors that develop in the adrenal glands. This is the most common kind of adrenal gland tumor. The endocrine system includes the adrenal gland, they release hormones that aid the body’s reaction to stress. In addition to other essential functions, the adrenal glands also release hormones that control the immune system, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

The body have two adrenal glands, which is situated above the kidney. Cortex and medulla make up the two different tissue types found in the gland. The term “adrenal adenomas” also refers to benign adrenal tumors that form in the cortex. Pheochromocytomas are another name for those that form in the medulla.

Adrenal adenomas can either be functional or nonfunctional. Both tumor types have a low chance of developing into cancer, but an adrenal adenoma that is inactive can become active.

  • Functioning (active) adrenal adenomas: This can release too many hormones from the adrenal glands, which can lead to symptoms that need to be treated.
  • Nonfunctioning (inactive) adrenal adenomas: There are no extra adrenal hormones produced by this. The majority of adrenal adenomas do not function. They don’t produce symptoms or need care.

The majority of benign adrenal masses are asymptomatic and do not require treatment. However, these tumors occasionally release too much hormones, which can lead to problems.

Aldosterone and cortisol from the cortex and adrenalin hormones from the medulla are the hormones most frequently found to be over-secreted. Surgery or medication may be used in certain situations as benign adrenal tumor treatment.


The symptoms of excess hormones in the body, particularly excess cortisol (Cushing’s syndrome) or excess aldosterone (primary aldosteronism), may be brought on by functioning adrenal adenomas. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Headache.
  • Muscle weakness or numbness.
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Hypokalemia (low potassium level)
  • Abdominal stretch marks.
  • Upper body weight gain.
  • Mood swing (anxiety, panic or depression).

Individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB) may encounter irregular menstrual cycles and an increase of masculine traits (virilization). Individuals assigned male at birth (AMAB) may have sexual dysfunction.


Researchers don’t know what causes an adrenal adenoma or other benign adrenal gland tumors to form. Still, certain genetic conditions may increase your risk, including:

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

The likelihood of getting an adrenal adenoma may also be increased by obesity and tobacco use.

Risk factors

An adrenal adenoma can affect anyone, however the probability rises with age. Adrenal adenomas affect 3% to 9% of the population. They are the most typical kind of tumor in the adrenal gland.