Endocrinologists diagnose and treat hormone imbalances and other conditions involving the endocrine glands. Endocrine glands include the thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, ovaries or testicles, hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands.
These glands and the hormones they produce affect important bodily processes that control metabolism, blood pressure, cholesterol, hunger, thirst, body temperature and more. Hormone imbalances can impact your daily life, but an endocrinologist can help you manage the imbalances to improve your quality of life.
An endocrinologist can treat you for a variety of conditions, including the following:
Diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder. Increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurry vision are warning signs of diabetes. Endocrinologists are experts at treating diabetes. They can provide you with the education and appropriate plan to help manage your diabetes, which can prevent the development of complications.
Thyroid disorders are the second most common type of endocrine disorder. Thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism — how fast and well your body’s systems work. High thyroid hormone levels cause your body to work in overdrive. Low thyroid hormone, results in fatigue and sluggishness. Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels, is more common than high thyroid hormone levels (hyperthyroidism).
Infertility can be a female reproductive issue, a male reproductive issue, or a combination of both. A specialized endocrinologist, called a reproductive endocrinologist has the training to diagnose the cause of infertility and recommend treatment.
Low testosterone is a common problem for many men of all ages, though it is more of an issue as men age. Common symptoms are hair loss, depression, muscle weakness, sleep problems, and low energy. Treatment may include hormone replacement therapy.
Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the bones and loss of bone mass. This leads to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. The risk of osteoporosis in both men and women increases with age as sex hormone levels decline. However, high levels of thyroid hormone, parathyroid hormone, and cortisol can also lead to osteoporosis. Don’t confuse it with osteoarthritis, which is joint pain from wear and tear of the joints.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Women with PCOS have higher than normal levels of male hormones and insulin. This leads to the symptoms such as enlarged ovaries containing many small cysts, irregular periods, and metabolic problems, such as diabetes. PCOS can also cause infertility problems, excessive hair growth, weight gain, and acne.
While menopause is a natural decline in a woman’s reproductive hormones, it can cause many unpleasant symptoms. Common symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, forgetfulness and irritability. An endocrinologist can help manage these symptoms.
Excessive hair growth
Hirsutism or excessive hair growth usually occurs on the face, chest and back. Excessive hair growth in women is typically caused by hormones, such as excess male hormones, like testosterone, or by low estrogen levels. An endocrinologist can successfully treat this condition with medication.