Beware of the dangers of this disease
Doctors are diagnosing Cushing's diseases more frequently than in the past. While the condition is not fatal, the effects can lead to severe complications. Heart attack, stroke, infections, blood clotting, bone loss, and fractures are typical. Other side effects include high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, depression, and diabetes.
Signs and symptoms you can't ignore
Some people have the condition without clear warnings. However, those with very high cortisol levels will see more obvious signs and symptoms. These signs include weight gain, a rounded face, fat around the base of the neck, and a hump near the shoulders. Other signs include thin limbs, high blood pressure, easy bruising, stretch marks, and muscle weakness. These symptoms are often linked to other conditions, making Cushing's syndrome hard to detect.
Cushing's and infertility in women
For women, abnormally high levels of cortisol block the function of the ovaries. As a result, the menstrual cycle becomes irregular or stops altogether. The condition will make conceiving difficult if left untreated. Women who do get pregnant have an increased risk of miscarriage. Treating the symptoms of the syndrome can help. However, if this fails, fertility treatments can help.
What about men?
Cushing's syndrome can also affect men as high cortisol reduces sperm quality and motility. The resulting high blood pressure and diabetes can also have an impact on sperm production. Men with the syndrome are also likely to have lower sex drives and erectile dysfunction. Like women, the condition must be diagnosed and treated first before turning to fertility treatments.
Addressing the source
Getting pregnant with Cushing's syndrome is difficult and almost always not recommended. Pregnancy can be fatal for both the mother and fetus. There is a high risk for miscarriage, developing preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and heart failure. In addition, wounds are likely to get infected and slow to heal. The goal would be to lower cortisol levels, usually through medication and lifestyle changes. However, if the condition is caused by a tumor, surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy are the next steps. Once the symptoms clear, which can take some time, the doctors will give the all-clear to try pregnancy.
Can fertility treatments help you get pregnant?
Unfortunately, the aftereffects of the syndrome can impact the ability to get pregnant naturally. If this happens, then fertility treatment can help. Fertility medication, like clomiphene citrate, can improve fertility in men and women. If hormone medication fails, assisted reproductive techniques like IUI and IVF can help. Patients must be closely monitored for the return of Cushing's syndrome since pregnancy increases cortisol production.
Making pregnancy stress-free
Hypercortisolism severely impacts the quality of life and can even make pregnancy dangerous. Anyone with signs and symptoms should see a doctor, especially before starting a family. All parties must take time to address the issue before considering pregnancy. If pregnancy still fails, fertility treatments can help.