The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, Patient Education Site

Sex hormone-producing
adrenal tumor

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Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of sex-hormone producing tumors can be divided into three categories:

Androgen secreting tumors — These tumors cause a virilizing (i.e. masculinizing) syndrome. For boys, they can lead to early onset of puberty. In girls and women, this can lead to deepening of the voice, excessive hair growth, excessive acne, increased muscle mass, ambiguous genitalia, and enlargement of the clitoris.

Estrogen secreting tumors — These tumors cause a feminizing syndrome. They may or may not cause signs and symptoms depending on the age and sex of the patient. In boys who have not reached puberty, they can cause breast enlargement (i.e. gynecomastia) and delayed or absent pubic hair, as well as delayed penis growth. For older males, they can lead to gynecomastia, decreased sperm production, decreased pubic hair, and testicle and penis atrophy (i.e. shrinking). In girls who have not reached puberty, these tumors can lead to early puberty and early start of periods (i.e. menarche). Premenopausal women may have disturbances in menses. Postmenopausal women may develop vaginal bleeding.

Mixed androgen and estrogen secreting tumors — Occasionally tumors may produce a combination of estrogens and androgens. Tumors that secrete a combination of estrogens, androgens, and cortisolCortisol - a glucocorticoid that controls glucose production and suppresses the immune system are more likely to be malignant.

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