Cushing’s syndrome

What is Cushing’s syndrome?

Cushing’s syndrome is an uncommon condition that is characterised by an excess of the hormone cortisol in the body.

What causes Cushing’s syndrome?

Cushing’s syndrome can be caused by the prolonged use of steroid medications as they contain a synthetic form of cortisol.

In other cases, it can be caused by the body itself producing too much cortisol. This can be the result of a tumour in the pituitary gland which is located in the brain or a tumour in one of the adrenal glands which are located above the kidneys. These tumours are usually benign, meaning they are non-cancerous, and mainly affect young women.

What are the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome?

The main symptom of Cushing’s syndrome is weight gain and increased body fat.

This may include:

  • Increased fat on the chest and stomach but slim arms and legs.
  • A build-up of fat on the back of the neck and shoulders.
  • A red, puffy and rounded face.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Easily bruised skin
  • Large purple stretch marks
  • Upper arm and thigh weakness
  • A reduced sex drive
  • Fertility problems
  • Mood swings
  • Depression.

Are you affected by Cushing’s syndrome?

If you’re affected by Cushing’s syndrome, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with Cushing’s syndrome, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with Cushing’s syndrome and their family, friends and carers from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with Cushing’s syndrome

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with Cushing’s syndrome? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including Cushing’s syndrome, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity’s library has a range of resources on Cushing’s syndrome and on many other disability-related issues.

Visit our library to read:

Or search the catalogue online here.

Support groups

Cushing’s Support Group

An informal online support group that provides an opportunity for those affected by the condition to share information and support each other.


Thyroid UK HealthUnlocked

HealthUnlocked offers an online forum that provides an opportunity for those who are affected by a thyroid disorder and related conditions to share their experiences.


Phone: 0125 582 0407

Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up a Cushing’s syndrome support group, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

The Pituitary Foundation

Thyroid UK


Phone: 0125 582 0407