We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Cushingoid?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cushingoid is an adjective used in medicine to suggest that a person has symptoms or appearance similar to what would be expected if that person was suffering from Cushing’s disease, a condition affecting the pituitary gland where the body overproduces cortisol. Sometimes the medical community makes an important distinction between this appearance when caused by the disease and the symptoms occurring when people take medications like steroids or have other illnesses or conditions. Other times, this distinction is not maintained, and anyone with a certain sort of appearance resulting from excess cortisol levels could be described as cushingoid.

A number of symptoms are implied in this description, but one of the most common of these is facial roundness or puffiness. Round face may be accompanied by easy weight gain, especially around the stomach and on the back, which may produce a hump-like appearance. Some people also exhibit excess, dark hair growth in areas of the body where this unusual, such as the face.

Other things that can be considered related to Cushing's disease include darkening skin tone, and thinner skin. The latter can result in stretch marks easily forming. In children, weight gain could be especially pronounced, and kids usually do not meet normal growth standards. Additional features might emerge in time, including cessation of menstrual periods, muscle weakness in the limbs, changes in mood leaning toward depression, and reddening of the skin on the face.

While Cushing’s disease is typically caused by excess cortisol production resulting from pituitary gland dysfunction or other adrenal system disorders, induced symptoms tend to be caused when extra corticosteroids are given, but this is not always the case. Some people develop these same symptoms for different reasons unrelated to taking steroids or pituitary gland dysfunction. Appearance of this nature is occasionally genetic, or it might result when people regularly consume excessive amounts of alcohol. Another illness, polycystic ovarian disease, has also been identified as resulted in cushingoid appearance in some people.

Identifying cause of these symptoms is important. It’s normally fairly easy to determine when cushingoid appearance is induced, which is also called iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome. Doctors may look at ways to reduce corticosteroid intake so that symptoms recess, but sometimes need to take steroids exceeds disadvantage of bodily appearance. This may certainly be true when people take these medications to treat autoimmune disorders or to reduce likelihood of transplant rejection.

Should iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome not be the cause of cushingoid manifestation, doctors will want to rule out pituitary issues before looking at other health issues that might be resulting in the problem. These aren’t always curable, and especially those with genetic cushingoid appearance might not be able to make that many changes. For some, plastic surgery could be an option, if desired.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By burcinc — On May 21, 2011

One of my cousins had Wilms tumor when she was young. She was about six years old then when they found this tumor in her kidney. She had developed cushingoid because of the tumor. It was such a hard time for her and her family.

After chemotherapy and surgery, the tumor was gone and so was cushingoid. She is really healthy now, thankfully.

By ysmina — On May 19, 2011

@turkay1-- Yea, alcoholics are at risk for it. I think they have the same exact symptoms- the hump, loss of muscle, abnormal weight gain, moon face. They also have high blood pressure and their bodies cannot tolerate glucose any longer.

They are lucky though, because if they quit drinking, all of the symptoms will disappear. It might take several weeks though.

If they don't quit, I imagine it could go as far as death.

By candyquilt — On May 17, 2011

So alcoholics are at risk for cushingoid?

What if they have developed cushingoid and then stop drinking? Will their symptoms go away, or do they have them for life?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.