10 Common Symptoms of Acromegaly

Acromegaly is a condition that affects adults. Basically, it makes many of their body parts, such as their tongue, ears, and hands, bigger than usual. Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that occurs when your pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone when you are an adult.

Acromegaly is usually caused by a non-cancerous tumor. It is rare, with less than 20,000 cases confirmed in the United States every year. Treatments can help and prevent serious issues, but there is no cure for this condition. Familiarize yourself with symptoms of acromegaly.

Symptom 1: Enlarged Jaw

Acromegaly causes your forehead and jaw to grow and protrude. Even expanding the spaces between your teeth and making your tongue larger. Your nose and lips may also enlarge.

These changes are due to acromegaly’s impact of excess growth hormone (GH) after your growth plates have closed.

Symptom 2: Weight Gain/Loss

Have you gained or lost weight recently? And you don’t know why?

Severe cases of acromegaly include weight loss or gain due to hypopituitarism that leads to hypothyroidism (low cortisol levels).

Symptom 3: Swollen Joints

Do you have swollen or painful joints that cause your movement to be limited?

Acromegaly makes your bones and cartilage grow too much, which makes it hard to move. The thickening of cartilage due to acromegaly may cause pain and/or arthritis in some of your joints.

Symptom 4: Large Brow

Do you have a larger than normal brow? Do your brows protrude – almost to where you look like Frankenstein? Acromegaly changes the way your face looks.

However, such changes occur slowly and can take years to notice.

Symptom 5: Large Bones

Even though you went through puberty years ago, are the bones in your face, feet, and/or hands growing again?

If you suffer from acromegaly, you may notice that you cannot put on rings that used to fit just fine, or your shoe size keep getting bigger. Soft tissue swelling makes your hands, feet, parts of your face, and other body parts become enlarged and thickened. 

Symptom 6: Headaches

Those suffering from acromegaly also suffer from headaches and head pressure. These are very common.

Because of where the pituitary gland is located, just below your brain, acromegaly can cause headaches with pressure, especially behind your eyes. The tumor can press on your brain, blood vessels, and nerves – resulting in headaches.

Symptom 7: Bulging Chest

Have you ever heard someone being referred to as having a barrel chest? Acromegaly can create tumors in your chest.

Changes to your chest wall can cause respiratory dysfunction, such as emphysema and bronchiectasis.

Symptom 8: Enlarged Organs

Soft tissue swelling also impacts your internal organs. It weakens the muscles in your heart and kidneys.

If acromegaly disfigures or severely impacts your internal organs, it could cause your death.

Symptom 9: Erectile Dysfunction

Acromegaly reduces sex hormones, which can lower testosterone levels in men.

As a result, this decreases their sex drive and causes impotence and erectile dysfunction.

Symptom 10: Infrequent Menstruation

The reduction of sex hormones in women due to acromegaly can cause infertility.

Also, it creates the "stalk effect," which leads to fewer or no menstrual periods for premenopausal women.