What are adrenal conditions?
The adrenal glands secrete essential hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone and adrenaline. A limited secretion of these hormones can impact bodily functions, and, as a result, an adrenal disorder can occur.

Adrenal glands (suprarenal glands) are tiny triangular glands located above the kidneys. The hormones secreted by the adrenal glands regulate our metabolism, blood pressure and reaction to stress. For example, cortisol is the stress hormone that enables our body to cope with stress. Therefore, when the adrenal glands release a restricted amount of cortisol, we refer to this as an adrenal crisis, which is considered a medical emergency.

What adrenal conditions exist?

Adrenal insufficiency, or Addison’s disease, is a result of failing adrenal glands that are unable to release an adequate quantity of hormones.

Other forms of adrenal disorders include the following:

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia occurs in children due to a lack of an enzyme responsible for producing cortisol or aldosterone, sometimes both. Furthermore, the androgen levels in the body increase.
  • A hyperactive adrenal gland can occur when nodules affect one or both glands. As a result, hormones in excess are secreted.
  • Too much cortisol in the body due to Cushing Syndrome can lead to excess fat deposits on the face, behind the neck (buffalo hump) and midsection.
  • Hyperaldosteronism is the accumulation of the hormone aldosterone. As a result, blood pressure is likely to increase. High blood pressure needs to be managed by taking prescribed medications.
  • Overproduction of adrenaline can develop due to pheochromocytoma, a benign tumour affecting the adrenal glands.
  • Tumours in the adrenal glands are aggressive by nature and can metastasise to nearby tissue and organs.

How are adrenal conditions managed and treated?

Although there is no cure for adrenal insufficiency, treatments are available to help manage the disease. Hormone replacement is a common treatment to compensate for the inadequate amount of hormones produced due to inefficient adrenal glands. Hydrocortisone is a drug prescribed in pill form, which is taken a few times a day to substitute for lost cortisol.


Apart from medication and hormone replacement therapy, surgery, also known as adrenalectomy, is done to remove a cancerous or ill-functioning adrenal gland. Adrenalectomy can be done through several tiny incisions or by means of open surgery.


1What causes the build-up of cortisol in the body?
Cushing syndrome can occur due to the excessive intake of steroids such as prednisone and dexamethasone that are taken for inflammatory or autoimmune conditions.
2How can I heal my adrenal glands?
You can do several things, such as following a diet low in sugar, reducing your caffeine intake and ensuring you have sufficient nutrients such as vitamin b12 rich supplements, vitamin c and magnesium.
3Is there a way I can cleanse my adrenal glands?
You can consume enough nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fish, legumes, seeds, nuts and avocados.