there is a severe shortage of cortisol then an individual’s life can be in
danger with an adrenal crisis. This
event is very rare is will never happen to most people with CAH who take
treatment regularly, make appropriate increases in dose when ill and seek help
early if unexpectedly unwell or vomiting. The
symptoms are faintness, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. An adrenal crisis can be triggered by a stressful illness
such as severe flu or gastro-enteritis. An
injection of hydrocortisone should be given immediately.
Admission to hospital may be needed so that fluids can be given into a
vein – a ‘saline drip’.
If in doubt – always give an injection of hydrocortisone and go to the
nearest accident and emergency department.
Why not take the adrenal glands out?
is an operation to remove the adrenal glands called adrenalectomy. People
who have no adrenal glands, a condition called Addison’s disease, require the
same medication as those with CAH, so the question sometimes arises that if
treatment is difficult for any reason, why not remove the adrenal gland?
Adrenalectomy is not a minor operation and the long-term safety of this
option has not been established. For
some women in whom all fertility treatments have failed, then adrenalectomy
might be the only answer.
©Dr G. S. Conway 1999
This Page was updated 30-Apr-2006
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