When Should You See an Endocrinologist?
Your primary doctor is there for you throughout all your health needs, but they might not have the answers or solutions to all of your problems. That’s where a specialist comes in. Your primary doctor might refer you to a specialist if your health requires further care. If you are having issues with any hormonal conditions, you might be sent to an endocrinologist.
What is an endocrinologist?
Endocrinology is the study of hormones. An endocrinologist is a doctor that diagnoses and treats diseases related to problems with hormones. Their overall goal is to restore the normal balance of hormones found in a patient’s body.
What is the endocrine system?
The endocrine system is made up of various glands: the thyroid, pancreas, ovaries, testes, adrenals, and pituitary glands. The endocrine system controls most of our body’s major systems. It regulates our heart rate, metabolism, appetite, mood, sexual function, reproduction, growth and development, sleep cycles, and more.
What are hormones?
Endocrine glands produce hormones, which include thyroid hormone, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA, insulin, growth hormone, and others. Hormones are molecules that act as messengers and travel from one cell to another cell through the blood stream. This helps different parts of the human body to communicate with each other.
There are many different hormones which serve many different roles. For example, estrogen is the main sex hormone in women. Estrogen causes girls to go through puberty, prepares the body and uterus for pregnancy, and regulates the menstrual cycle. However, estrogen levels change during menopause because of the uncomfortable symptoms women experience.
Another example is cortisol. This is often referred to as the “stress hormone” because it helps the body respond to stress. Cortisol has many other functions as well. By managing your stress, you are managing your overall health and well-being.
When the hormones are properly balanced, the body thrives. However, if hormone levels are too high or too low, it is most likely due to an endocrine disorder.
When is it time to see an endocrinologist?
Hormone imbalances can happen to anyone and everyone. They can even cause serious health problems, which might require ongoing medical management.
If you have concerns about any of your hormones, speak to your doctor or make an appointment to visit with a qualified endocrinologist. These are the most common conditions caused by hormones, but can also be treated by an endocrinologist:
Diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder in the United States. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas either doesn’t produce any insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body’s cells use glucose for energy. If the body isn’t producing enough insulin, glucose will stay in blood – instead of aiding the cells. Common symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are some of the most common thyroid conditions some people suffer from in America. These conditions occur when the thyroid gland is not functioning properly. During hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is underactive, which means that it is not producing enough thyroid hormone. Some of the symptoms include cold intolerance, extreme fatigue, poor muscle strength, and hair loss. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is producing too much thyroid hormone. Unexplained weight loss, bulging eyes, and sweating are some of the most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
There are specialties even throughout endocrinology. If you are experiencing any infertility issues, you might need to see a reproductive endocrinologist, an endocrinologist with the proper training to diagnose and treat the cause of infertility. Infertility can be caused by a female reproductive issue, a male reproductive issue, or a combination of both. Hormones can help stimulate ovulation and prepare a woman’s uterus for artificial insemination and assisted reproduction technologies.
Obesity is due to excess fat in the body, which can be caused by a poor diet, inactivity, thyroid disorders, and more. Endocrinologists can provide those who are suffering from obesity with hormone therapy, counseling, and support services.
- Bone Disorders
Endocrinologists can even provide treatments to some people with bone disorders, like osteoporosis or osteomalacia. If the sex hormones, estrogen, and testosterone are not being produced properly, they can cause poor bone conditions.
- Testosterone Levels
Millions of men throughout America suffer from low testosterone levels, especially older men. Some symptoms include decreased sexual desire, shrinking testes, less energy, depression, sleep problems, muscle weakness, and hair loss. If lab tests confirm that low testosterone levels are due to hormone problems, you might need testosterone therapy.
Endocrinologists at Gonzaba Medical Group
Gonzaba Medical Group has two in-house endocrinologists, Dr. Maria Escobar and Dr. Luis Anaya Hoyos, who can work directly with you to find a treatment plan regarding your condition. If you live in San Antonio, you can find our endocrinologists at the Main Clinic. Call 210-921-3800 to schedule your appointment today!