Autoimmune Polyendocrine Syndrome Treatment Options

August 31, 2023

The immune system in the body is supposed to fight off harmful bacteria and other microbes, but when something goes wrong, the immune system can mistakenly attack healthy tissue in the body. When a person has an autoimmune disorder, they can suffer from a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. Autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes are a collection of rare autoimmune diseases that attack the endocrine organs.

Symptoms include a wide range of problems like fatigue, irregular bowel movements, abnormal heart rates, unhealthy weight changes, and other abnormalities. Treating autoimmune conditions can be quite difficult because you need to manage the symptoms while also calming the overactive immune system. If you have an autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome, there are numerous different treatment options available.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

The endocrine organs are organs that produce important hormones throughout the body. When a person has an autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome, their reproductive organs, thyroid, pituitary, or hypothalamus glands may be repeatedly damaged by immune system activity. This can make it hard for these organs to properly produce the hormones the body needs. Patients may end up dealing with hypothyroidism, delayed puberty, or other issues, and hormone replacement therapy may be needed to treat these issues.

This form of treatment involves regularly taking pills, wearing patches, or having injections containing the hormones the body needs to function properly. It can help to alleviate problems like lack of growth, fatigue, nausea, and low blood pressure. Finding the perfect balance of hormones can be somewhat difficult because each person responds differently to various hormone levels.

Antifungal Medication

In many types of autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome, one of the first symptoms is recurring yeast infections. This is caused by an overgrowth of the candida fungus, and it causes itchy, white buildup on the mouth, nails, or genitals as a result. Though yeast infections are not necessarily dangerous, they can be very uncomfortable to deal with. One of the most effective ways of managing this aspect of autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome is with antifungal medication.

Depending on your needs, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, or they may recommend cream instead. The key to successfully getting rid of yeast infections is to be rigorous with your medical regimen. Always take it at the proper time, and complete the full course instead of stopping as soon as symptoms start to fade.

Treatment for Associated Disorders

There are many disorders associated with autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome. Each patient is different, so some may end up dealing with multiple conditions and need several types of treatment for associated disorders. Many patients suffer from alopecia, causing them to lose hair, or vitiligo, resulting in depigmented areas of skin. It is also quite common for patients to have hypoparathyroidism that results in a dysfunction parathyroid gland or Addison's disease, which impairs the function of the parathyroid gland and adrenal glands respectively.

These sorts of conditions can cause potentially life-threatening levels of dehydration, low blood pressure, and seizures. Therefore, it is important to get diagnosed for all the associated disorders caused by your autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome and work with your doctor to manage these conditions. Depending on which associated conditions you have, you may need treatments like steroid injections or vitamin supplements.

Symptom Management

Symptom management treatments are any treatment that helps an autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome patient to manage their symptoms. Common examples include over-the-counter painkillers to ease muscle pain or laxatives to assist with constipation. But not all methods for managing symptoms rely on medication, and in some cases, patients may need to make lifestyle changes. For example, many individuals who have autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome also have celiac disease, so they can manage bowel problems by avoiding gluten. Anemia causes many symptoms, so patients might need to take vitamin B and iron supplements to help reduce fatigue and other symptoms related to anemia.


Since an overactive immune system causes autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome, medications that suppress immune responses may help to stop the body from damaging the endocrine organs more. There is a wide range of immunotherapy drugs, so patients must consult with their doctor about which one is right for them. Though this will not reverse past damage or fix symptoms caused by malfunctioning endocrine organs, it will keep the condition from worsening.

However, immunosuppressive drugs can cause problems because they may keep the immune system from being able to fight off dangerous illnesses, and as such, in many cases, the long-term use of immunosuppressants is not recommended. Instead, patients may just take these drugs when they are having a flare-up of their autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome.

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