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Amy Schumer reveals she has been diagnosed with Cushing syndrome after addressing 'puffier' face

Amy Schumer, wearing a patterned dress with a plunging neckline, sitting while holading glass
Amy Schumer says she has been diagnosed with Cushing syndrome. (Getty Images)
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Amy Schumer says she has been diagnosed with Cushing syndrome, a disorder in which the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Cushing syndrome include a rounded face, stretch marks and a fatty lump between the shoulders; the condition can also lead to high blood pressure and bone loss.

Schumer opened up about her diagnosis in Jessica Yellin's "News Not Noise" newsletter Friday. The comedian shared that she has been undergoing medical testing while promoting the second season of her Hulu series, Life & Beth.

"While I was doing press on camera for my Hulu show, I was also in MRI machines four hours at a time, having my veins shut down from the amount of blood drawn and thinking I may not be around to see my son grow up," the 42-year-old mom said. "So finding out I have the kind of Cushing that will just work itself out and I'm healthy was the greatest news imaginable."

Schumer also acknowledged the commentary around her changed appearance during her press tour. While she called out the "shaming and criticism of our ever-changing bodies," the actress noted that the concern did help her realize "something was wrong."

"It has been a crazy couple [of] weeks for me and my family," she shared. "Aside from fears about my health, I also had to be on camera having the internet chime in. But thank God for that. Because that's how I realized something was wrong."

Schumer first addressed the comments made about her “puffier” appearance last week, after a video in which she appeared to have a swollen face went viral. In a post on Instagram the Trainwreck star initially cited her ongoing battle with endometriosis as well as "some medical and hormonal things going on in my world."

“I have endometriosis, an auto immune disease that every woman should read about,” she wrote alongside a poster for the new season of Life & Beth. “There are some medical and hormonal things going on in my world right now but I’m okay.” While Schumer noted that “historically women’s bodies have barely been studied medically compared to men,” she added that women don’t need “any excuse for her physical appearance” and advocated for “self love and acceptance in the skin you’re in.”

“Like every other women/person some days I feel confident and good as hell and others I want to put a bag over my head,” she wrote. “But I feel strong and beautiful and so proud of this tv show I created. Wrote. Starred in and directed. Maybe just maybe we can focus on that for a little.”

While endometriosis — and the medications used to treat it — can cause swelling in some cases, Dr. Hugh Taylor, chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, told Yahoo Life that it's not the most common cause of facial swelling. “That is a common symptom of adrenal disease or Cushing’s disease, as well as steroid hormone use,” he said after Schumer's first post addressing her facial puffiness.

What to know about Cushing syndrome

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Cushing syndrome (also known as Cushing's disease) is most common in adults between the ages of 30 and 50 and affects three times as many women as men. It occurs when the body produces an excess amount of cortisol, known as the "stress hormone," over a long period of time. The condition can also be caused as a result of taking glucocorticoid medicines, which are typically used to treat asthma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases; skin rashes; and back and joint pain.

Symptoms include:

  • Weight gain

  • Thin arms and legs

  • A round face

  • A fatty hump between the shoulders

  • Skin that easily bruises

  • Pink and purple stretch marks

  • Muscle weakness

Complications of Cushing syndrome include type 2 diabetes, bone loss, muscle loss, high blood pressure and infections.

What else has Amy Schumer said about her health?

Speaking to Yellin, the comic said she wants to be an "advocate for women's health." Indeed, she's been candid in the past about her experience with endometriosis, a medical condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus, called endometrium, grows outside the uterus. This misplaced tissue can cause pain, inflammation and the formation of adhesions, leading to complications such as fertility problems. The symptoms often include pelvic pain, painful periods and discomfort during intercourse. Endometriosis can be managed through medications, hormonal treatments or, in severe cases, surgical procedures.

Despite the fact that the condition can cause extreme pain, historically it's been dismissed by many medical professionals. This is something several public figures, including Lena Dunham, Halsey and Padma Lakshmi, have spoken out about. In a 2022 interview on the docuseries The Checkup With Dr. David Agus, Schumer said she was in pain for most of her life due to the condition. At 41, she had a hysterectomy to help alleviate symptoms.

"It was just this pain you can't see," Schumer told Agus. "And, you know, there is the inclination to always think a woman is just being dramatic. You tell someone you get really bad cramps and they’re like, "Oh, well, being a woman…' And you're like, 'No, it's irregular.'"

This article was originally published on Feb. 16, 2024, and has been updated.