An endocrinologist is a specially trained doctor. Endocrinologists diagnose diseases that affect your glands. They know how to treat conditions that are often complex and involve many systems within your body. Your primary care doctor refers you to an endocrinologist when you have a problem with your endocrine system.
Endocrinologists are trained to diagnose and treat hormone imbalances and problems by helping to restore the normal balance of hormones in your system. They take care of many conditions, including:
Endocrinologists also conduct basic research to learn the way glands work, and clinical research to learn the best methods to treat patients with a hormone imbalance. Through research, endocrinologists develop new drugs and treatments for hormone problems.
- Thyroid diseases
- Metabolic disorders
- Over- or underproduction of hormones
- Cholesterol (lipid) disorders
- Lack of growth (short stature)
- Cancers of the endocrine glands
Endocrinologists finish four years of medical school and then spend three or four years in an internship and residency program. These specialty programs cover internal medicine, pediatrics, or obstetrics and gynecology. They spend two or three more years learning how to diagnose and treat hormone conditions. Overall, an endocrinologist's training will take more than 10 years.
Source: MedlinePlus and the Hormone Foundation
Note: This definition was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. This site is not responsible for the information on other sites. The information here — and on all websites — is not intended to be a substitute for care given to you by a health professional.
- The Hormone Health Network
- The Hormone Health Network is the public education affiliate of The Endocrine Society and provides information on specific diseases as well as recent journal articles and research.
- American Thyroid Association
- Founded in 1923, the American Thyroid Association is a professional society of U.S. and international physicians and scientists who specialize in the research and treatment of thyroid diseases. The organization's website includes excellent public education resources in English and Spanish.