Endocrinology is the study of medicine that relates to the endocrine system, which is the system that controls hormones. Endocrinologists are specially trained physicians who diagnose diseases related to the glands. Because these doctors specialize in these conditions, which can be complex and have

hard-to-spot symptoms, an endocrinologist is your best advocate when dealing with hormonal issues.

Most patients begin their journey to the endocrinologist with a trip to their primary care provider or family doctor. This doctor will run a series of tests to see what could be the potential problem the patient is facing. If a problem with the hormones is suspected, the primary care doctor will provide a referral. The endocrinologists goal is to restore hormonal balance in the body.


The Endocrine

The endocrine is a series of glands that produce and secrete hormones that the body uses for a wide range of functions. These control many different bodily functions, including:

•             Respiration

•             Metabolism

•             Reproduction

•             Sensory perception

•             Movement

•             Sexual development

•             Growth

Hormones are produced by glands and sent into the bloodstream to the various tissues in the body. They send signals to those tissues to tell them what they are supposed to do. When the glands do not produce the right amount of hormones, diseases develop that can affect many aspects of life.


•             Hypothalamus: The hypothalamus is responsible for body temperature, hunger, moods and the release of hormones from other glands; and also controls thirst, sleep and sex drive.

 The hypothalamus is in control of pituitary hormones by releasing the following types of hormones:

•             Thyrotrophic-releasing hormone

•             Growth hormone-releasing hormone

•             Corticotrophin-releasing hormone

•             Gonadotropin-releasing hormone

These hormones regulate body temperature, appetite and weight, mood, sex drive, sleep, and thirst.

•             Pituitary: Considered the "master control gland," the pituitary gland controls other glands and makes the hormones that trigger growth.

 The pituitary gland is a tiny organ, the size of a pea, found at the base of the brain. As the “master gland” of the body, it produces many hormones that travel throughout the body, directing certain processes or stimulating other glands to produce other hormones.The pituitary gland makes or stores many different hormones. The following hormones are made in the anterior (front part) of the pituitary gland:


This hormone stimulates breast milk production after childbirth. When prolactin is high, it affects the hormones that control the ovaries in women and testes in men. As a result, high prolactin can affect menstrual periods, sexual function and fertility.


This hormone stimulates growth in childhood and plays a role in  maintaining healthy muscles and bone and well-being in adults. It also affects fat distribution in the body. Too much growth hormone causes a disease that is called acromegaly. In children, too much growth hormone causes excessive growth, called gigantism.


This hormone stimulates the production of cortisol by the adrenal glands—small glands that sit on top of the kidneys. Cortisol, a "stress hormone," is needed for our survival. It helps maintain blood pressure and blood glucose (sugar) levels, and is produced in larger amounts when we’re under stress, especially during  illness, surgery, or after injury. Too much ACTH will result in too much cortisol production; this is called Cushing’s syndrome or Cushing’s disease. Low ACTH will result in low cortisol, called adrenal insufficiency. 


This hormones stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones, which regulate the bodys metabolism, energy balance, growth, and nervous system activity. Too much TSH is rare and will cause hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone). Lack of TSH results in hypothyroidism (not enough thyroid hormone).


This hormone stimulates testosterone production in men and egg release (ovulation) in women


This hormone promotes sperm production in men and stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen and develop eggs in women. LH and FSH work together to enable normal function of the ovaries and testes. Problems with these hormones affects menstrual periods in women and fertility and sexual function in both women and men.

The following hormones are stored in the posterior (back part) of the pituitary gland:


This hormone is also called vasopressin, it regulates water balance in the body and sodium levels in the blood. It conserves body water by reducing the amount of water lost in urine. Lack of ADH causes increased urination and thirst, a condition that is called diabetes insipidus .


This hormone causes milk to flow from the breasts in breastfeeding women, and may also help labor to progress. Oxytocin may also play an important role in human behavior and social interaction and may promote bonding between a mother and her child.

When the pituitary gland doesn operate in a healthy manner, this can lead to pituitary disorders.

•             Parathyroid: This gland controls the amount of calcium in the body.

 This gland is vital to proper bone development because it helps control both calcium and phosphorous levels in the body. The parathyroid gland is actually a group of four small glands located behind the thyroid gland.

•             Pancreas: This gland produces the insulin that helps control blood sugar levels.

 The main function of the pancreas is to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It is a large gland located behind the stomach. It produces insulin, glucagon, and other hormones.

 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body doesn’t use insulin properly (called insulin resistance).   

•             Thyroid: The thyroid produces hormones associated with calorie burning and heart rate. 

Found in both women and men, the thyroid controls a persons metabolism. It is located in the front of the neck.

This gland secretes hormones that govern many of the functions in your body, such as the way the body uses energy, consumes oxygen and produces heat. Thyroid disorders typically occur when this gland releases too many or too few hormones. An overactive or underactive thyroid can lead to a wide range of health problems.

•             Adrenal: Adrenal glands produce the hormones that control sex drive and cortisol, the stress hormone. 

This gland produces androgens and cortisol. It helps to control blood sugar. In addition, also helps your body do the following:

•             Promoting proper cardiovascular function

•             Helps in how we respond to stress

•             Properly utilizing carbohydrates and fats

•             Helps distribute stored fat

•             Gives you body odor and pubic hair

•             Promotes healthy gastrointestinal functions

•             Pineal: This gland produces melatonin which affect sleep.

The pineal gland releases melatonin, which helps the body recognize when it is time to go to sleep. Researchers continue to learn more about this gland.

•             Ovaries: Only in women, the ovaries secrete estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, the female sex hormones. 

Found in women, this gland produces eggs and sex hormones—including estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone—which are vital to reproductive organ development, breast development, bone health, pregnancy, and fertility.

•             Testes: Only in men, the testes produce the male sex hormone, testosterone, and produce sperm.

Found in men, this gland produces testosterone, which promotes the growth of the penis as a male gets older as well as facial and body hair. It also deepens the voice of a male at a certain age. Other functions of testosterone include:

•             Maintaining sex drive

•             Promoting production of sperm

•             Maintaining healthy levels of muscle and bone mass


Some of the factors that affect endocrine organs include aging, certain diseases and conditions, stress, the environment, and genetics.