Endocrinologists are trained to treat disorders of the endocrine system, which is comprised of the body's network of glands - the hormones secreted can affect every organ system, and regulate processes such as growth.

Watch an Overview of Endocrinology

About Endocrinology

Endocrinologists employ a variety of techniques and procedures to diagnose and treat disorders, diseases, and imbalances of the endocrine system, or hormonal system. The endocrine system is composed of a network of glands that secrete hormones to regulate bodily functions, such as growth.

Some disorders treated by an endocrinologist include diabetes, hyper- and hypothyroidism, obesity, cholesterol problems, infertility problems, menopause, Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, hyper- and hypoglycemia and low testosterone, among many others. The treatment plans created by endocrinologists are provided on a case by case basis - each person’s endocrine system produces hormones at different proportions and levels, and each person’s body will react differently to certain hormones or levels of hormones.

Endocrine disorders often encompass many different organs and bodily systems. Due to this fact, endocrinologists must employ a variety of laboratory tests, tissue samples, medical imaging and scanning techniques, bone density tests and blood analyses, as well as their skills and knowledge from the completion of rigorous educational requirements.

Endocrinology Education & Training

Following completion of an undergraduate degree, students on an endocrinology track must complete an MD or DO medical degree. After graduating from medical school, the physician must complete a three to five year internship and residency program, where the doctor will specialize in a field such as internal medicine, pediatrics, or obstetrics & gynecology. Following completion of the residency and subsequent state licensure, the doctor must complete a two to three year specialized fellowship in an area of endocrinology.

Endocrinology subspecialty fellowship programs include: clinical endocrinology, which prepares the physician to treat in a hospital or other related setting; neuroendocrinology, which prepares the physician to study, diagnose, and treat the interactions between the nervous and endocrine systems and the various relationships between the brain and the glandular secretion of hormone; pediatric endocrinology, which prepares the physician to diagnose and treat complications and disorders of the endocrine system in children, including growth and development problems or childhood diabetes; reproductive endocrinology & infertility (REI), which prepares physicians to diagnose and treat complications, disorders, and diseases of the reproductive system, concentrating on the relation of hormonal function in relation to reproduction; or diabetes and metabolism - a subspecialty of endocrinology that prepares the physician to specialize on the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and metabolic disorders or diseases.

After completion of a fellowship, many endocrinologists seek to pass the American Board of Internal Medicine exam in order to become board certified in endocrinology, as well as their respective subspecialty. As mentioned above, the physician must earn a medical license from the state(s) in which they practice.