While completing my Ph.D. research in a pituitary-related field, I realized I have many of the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, and have finally started to get tested. I suppose I went into medical research to find out why I always gained weight despite extensive exercise (I played a lot of sports) and a low-fat, low-calorie diet (often less than my skinny friends). I am an undiagnosed 29-year-old female, and now I’m waiting for my Endo appointment after being referred by my regular doctor (PCP). In April, my afternoon serum cortisol was high, even though my PCP originally said it was normal (she must have been looking at the 8 AM range). I guess always get the actual lab results. My free testosterone was borderline low, so it is unlikely to be PCOS.
Over the years, many symptoms were overlooked by doctors, the most obvious being the weight gain. I have gained about 100 lbs since I was 17-years-old, usually in 10-30 lb spurts, with stabilization in between. I look 6 months pregnant, although clothes hide it a bit. Even when I add more exercise or diet severely, I do not lose more than 5-10 lbs and then gain it back. I think I am the only person to gain weight on Subway sandwiches.
In college, my now-husband would tease me about my growing hump (buffalo hump), which he blamed on bad posture. I sweat a lot and am constantly warm, like I am getting hot flashes. For the last few years I have been waking up at night to pee, which in 2009 my gynecologist blamed on my abdominal weight gain.
The recent severe fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain and muscle pain have started to make life miserable and are what motivated me to finally ask the doctor about Cushing’s. I get tired with simple things like taking a shower. My hands hurt so bad it is difficult to do my job, my knees make it hard to climb stairs, and my swollen feet make it painful to stand (diuretics only help slightly). My back, neck and shoulders are usually sore, and I get headaches almost every day. I still have intermittent stabbing abdominal pain, even though my collapsed gallbladder was removed in 2009. After reading other posts and my own past experience with doctors, I am just hoping that the Endocrinologist will take me seriously and figure this out.
Some Other Symptoms:
Frequent Infections (especially sinus infections), poor wound healing
Translucent skin with visible blue veins
Stretch marks all over, especially abdomen and arms (large, pink or white) and spider veins
Easy bruising and skin tears easily
Itchy, dry skin, crawling feeling on skin
Irregular periods and low libido
Memory problems (short-term and long-term)
Lack of concentration and easily distracted, brain fuzzy, more difficulty thinking
Anxiety/worrying, irritable, moody, mild depression
Low Vitamin D
Fat accumulation in supraclavicular fat pads, thicker neck
Round moon face, often gets flushed (red)
Dizziness and tinnitus (ringing in ears)
Increased thirst and urination (especially at night) and dry mouth
Insomnia: staying up later, more difficulty falling asleep, waking up a lot
Tingling/numbness in hands and feet
Muscles twitching and cramping, hands shaking sometimes
Diarrhea, hiccups, occasional constipation, nausea, acid reflux
Hair on face, breasts and stomach, and acne
Difficulty drawing blood (small wiggly veins), pulse hard to feel
High blood pressure (new)