Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Cushing's syndrome

Cushing's syndrome is a condition where the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol. If you have Cushing's syndrome, it is treatable.

Cortisol is a hormone that is made by the adrenal glands. You have two adrenal glands, one sitting on the top of each kidney.

Cortisol is involved in many different parts of your body. It is produced all day, and especially during times of stress.

What causes Cushing's syndrome?

Some people with Cushing's syndrome have a benign tumour in part of the brain. This tumour tells the adrenal glands to release cortisol. This condition is known as Cushing's disease.

Other people develop Cushing's syndrome from taking steroid medication for a long time.

Cushing's syndrome can also be caused by a tumour of the adrenal gland, overgrowth of the adrenal glands, or occasionally a tumour somewhere else in the body.

If you have Cushing's syndrome as a result of taking steroid medication, do not stop taking it suddenly, as you could become very unwell and talk to your doctor.

Cushing's syndrome diagnosis

Cushing's syndrome can be hard to diagnose because it can look like other things. Your doctor will talk to you, examine you and may arrange a number of tests of your blood, urine and saliva. You may also be referred to an endocrinologist, who specialises in problems with hormones.

Cushing's syndrome symptoms

The symptoms and signs of Cushing's syndrome include:

Cushing's syndrome treatment

The treatment depends on the cause.

If you are taking steroids, then you and your doctor will need to talk about whether it is possible to reduce the dose or not.

If there are other reasons as to why you have Cushing’s syndrome, then you may be advised to have treatment such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or other medication to stop your body taking too much cortisol.

Last reviewed: September 2015

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 26 results

Cushing's syndrome - Lab Tests Online AU

Cushings syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms caused by the body producing too much cortisol from the adrenal glands. There are two adrenal glands, one on top of each kidney. These glands are triangular in shape. The outer layer of the adrenal glands called the adrenal cortex produces not only cortisol but also aldosterone and the adrenal androgens, mainly dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Cushings syndrome can also be caused by a patient taking too much of a synthetic glucocorticoid (a steroid like cortisol) for another clinical condition and by other rare causes (see below).

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

ACTH - Lab Tests Online AU

To diagnose adrenal and pituitary diseases such as Cushing's syndrome, Cushings disease, Addison's disease, adrenal and pituitary tumours; usually done as a diagnostic test once an abnormal cortisol level is detected

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Cortisol - Lab Tests Online AU

To help diagnose Cushings syndrome or Addisons diseaseor as part of a test for pituitary function or adrenal function (Synacthen test)

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Striae - ACD

Stretch marks are extremely common, affecting over 70% of the population. There are two types of stretch marks - striae rubra (red or new stretch marks) and striae alba (white or old stretch marks).

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Pituitary tumour

Generally, pituitary tumours are benign (not cancerous) and slow growing, and pituitary cancers are rare. Benign tumours don’t spread to other parts of the body, so there is no chance of secondary tumours developing. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy and medication.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Stretch marks (Striae distensae) | myVMC

Stretch marks (striae distensae) are scars on the skin caused by excessive stretching in pregnancy or obesity commonly on the stomach, breasts and thighs.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Kids' Health - Topics - Concussion - seeing stars!

Have you seen cartoons where someone is lying on the ground and there are stars circling round his or her head?That's the artist's way of showing that someone has been hit on the head.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

SHBG - Lab Tests Online AU

To help evaluate whether the concentration of SHBG is affecting the amount of testosterone available to the bodys tissues

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Budenofalk Foam Enema -

Budenofalk Foam Enema - Consumer Medicines Information leaflets of prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Read more on myDr – Consumer Medicine Information website

Budenofalk Enteric capsules -

Budenofalk Enteric capsules - Consumer Medicines Information leaflets of prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Read more on myDr – Consumer Medicine Information website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo