An endocrinologist is a healthcare provider who’s an expert in endocrinology — the study of your body’s hormones. Endocrinologists diagnose, treat and manage several different conditions that affect your endocrine system.
An endocrinologist is a healthcare provider who specializes in endocrinology, a field of medicine that studies conditions related to your hormones. An endocrinologist can diagnose endocrine conditions, develop treatment and management plans for them and prescribe medication.
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Endocrinology is the study of hormones and endocrine glands and organs. Hormone-secreting glands and certain organs in your body make up your endocrine system.
A hormone is a chemical messenger that travels from one endocrine gland or organ in your body to another part of your body through your blood. Hormones help parts of your body communicate with other parts and have a large role in many key bodily functions, such as:
Your body makes and releases over 50 different hormones. Some of those hormones include:
Certain glands in your body called endocrine glands make and release hormones. Glands are special tissues in your body that create and release substances. The endocrine glands in your body include:
You have other glands in your body that aren’t endocrine glands, such as your sweat glands and lymph glands (also called lymph nodes).
Certain organs in your body also make and release hormones. An organ is a group of tissues that form a structure that performs specific important functions in your body. The organs that are part of the endocrine system include:
An endocrinologist may specialize in certain areas of endocrinology called subspecialties, including:
An endocrinologist can diagnose and treat several different conditions that affect your endocrine system. This section will group several — but not all — conditions that endocrinologists treat into the following categories:
An endocrinologist can develop treatment and management plans for metabolic conditions. Diabetes is one of the most common metabolic conditions. Types of diabetes and other metabolic conditions include:
An endocrinologist can diagnose and treat endocrine cancers and tumors, which are named by the gland or organ in which they begin. Different kinds of endocrine cancers and tumors include:
Endocrinologists can treat thyroid disease, which is a general term for any medical condition that keeps your thyroid gland from making the right amount of hormones. Several conditions can affect how your thyroid gland functions, including:
Several hormones are involved in sexual development, function and reproduction. Endocrinologists can treat the following conditions related to sex hormones:
Several hormones affect bone metabolism and calcium levels. Conditions concerned with calcium and bone health that endocrinologists can treat include:
Endocrinology is a subspecialty of internal medicine. Endocrinologists are healthcare providers who have trained in the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat endocrine conditions specifically.
To become an endocrinologist in the United States, a person must obtain or complete the following:
Endocrinologists — and all healthcare providers — also partake in yearly learning and training courses known as Continuing Medical Education (CME) to stay up to date in their medical field.
Primary healthcare providers can diagnose and help you manage many endocrine conditions. However, you may benefit from seeing an endocrinologist since they’re likely more knowledgeable on your condition and more up-to-date on different medications, technology and clinical trials that can help treat your condition. Endocrinologists are experts in endocrinology and endocrine conditions.
Just like you may want to take your vehicle to a repair shop that specializes in your vehicle’s brand instead of a general repair shop that works on any type of vehicle, you may benefit from seeing a healthcare provider who specializes in your condition.
If your primary healthcare provider has diagnosed you with an endocrine condition, they may recommend that you see an endocrinologist to help manage your condition, especially since many endocrine conditions are long-term or chronic (life-long).
If your primary healthcare provider suspects your body may be having issues with certain hormones, they may have you see an endocrinologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
An endocrinologist could also be part of a team of healthcare providers to treat certain conditions such as cancers and fertility issues.
You’ll most likely see an endocrinologist during an outpatient visit to their office. You can expect that they’ll ask thorough questions about your medical history, current medications and symptoms. They may also perform a physical exam.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Getting a new diagnosis can be overwhelming. If you have a condition that affects your endocrine system, such as diabetes or thyroid disease, an endocrinologist can help you manage and treat your condition. They’re experts in their field and have up-to-date knowledge on medications, procedures and technology that can help you. If you’re currently seeing your primary healthcare provider to manage your endocrine condition and want more specified care and information, don’t be afraid to ask them for an endocrinologist recommendation or referral.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/12/2022.
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