Can we live with one adrenal gland?
The adrenal glands are a part of the endocrine system. We have one adrenal gland located on the top of each one of our kidneys. Our adrenal glands are responsible for producing many different hormones such as cortisone, adrenaline, and epinephrine. Sometimes people need to have an adrenalectomy performed. An adrenalectomy is when either one or both of the adrenal glands must be removed. This is usually because there is a cancerous tumor present or there is a severe hormone disorder present. People who have had an adrenalectomy may need to take steroid medication or hormone supplements to compensate for the loss of hormones. There is a very positive outcome for people living with one or no adrenal glands.
The adrenal glands produce very important hormones that are essential to regulate the body's salt levels, blood pressure and its response to stress. The human body has a very large capacity to adapt. If one adrenal gland has to be removed due to any cause, the other gland can increase its production of the same and the body will continue to function with the person noticing little if any change.
If both the adrenal glands are removed though, a person has to take medication to replace the functionality of the adrenal glands.