What is Endocrinology?

Endocrinology is the study of the various hormones and their disorders in the body. Hormone are made by organs known as glands. Hormones are substances that help to control activities in the body and have several effects on the growth and devlopment, sexual growth and function, metabolism, reproduction, bone health, food absorption and utilisation etc.

Some of the glands that make up the endocrine system include the pancreas, thyroid, pituitary, hypothalamus, parathyroids, adrenals, ovaries, testes and pineal gland.

What does an Endocrinologist do?

Endocrinologists treat people who suffer from hormonal imbalances, typically from glands in the endocrine system. Endocrinologists also deal with certain types of cancers of the endocrine glands. The overall goal of treatment is to restore the normal balance of hormones found in a patient’s body.  Some of the more common conditions treated by endocrinologists include:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Adrenal disorders
  • Osteoporosis and bone health
  • Endocrine disorders in children (lack of growth, problems with puberty)
  • Heart problems (high cholesterol, triglycerides, high blood pressure)
  • Men’s health (infertility, testosterone levels)
  • Pituitary disorders
  • Weight and metabolism
  • Women’s health (menopause, infertility, some menstrual problems)

Most of the work performed by an endocrinologist serves as the basis for ongoing research. Some endocrinologists work solely as research physicians. The goal of the research is to come up with new ways to better treat hormonal imbalances, including the development of new drugs.

What does it take to become an Endocrinologist?

The first step to become an endocrinologist  is earning a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. After a course of five and a half years , a masters degree in medicine or paediatrics should be obtained which is a course of three years. Once the masters course is completed, an additional three years of D.M or D.N.B course in Endocrinology should be fulfilled. While the above is the norm for India it differs in different countries.

How do I know if I have an Endocrine disorder?

Most of the time you would be referred to an endocrinologist by an astute broad speciality physician or surgeon who suspects you to have an endocrine disorder. You can however go through this site to learn more about the common manifestations of some of the endocrine disorders and see if you need to get assessed.