Why consult an endocrinologist?

Pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, thyroid… Many glands produce hormones in our body. Endocrinologists are responsible for detecting, monitoring and treating pathologies related to disruption of these hormones. We take stock.

Definition: what is an endocrinologist?

The endocrinologist is the doctor who specializes in the hormones that circulate in our blood. Specifically, it specializes in the study and management of endocrine system disorders (dysfunction in the production or release of hormones, problems with the interaction between hormones or difficulties in certain organs to produce and / or use hormones).

This professional can therefore take care of a wide variety of disorders having a significant impact on reproduction, metabolism, nutrition, sleep, heart rate and digestion.

Endocrinos: what is the difference with diabetologists, gynecologists or nutritionists?

Endocrinologists obtain a degree in endocrinology – diabetology – nutrition after eleven years of study.

Some then choose to specialize in nutrition (endocrinologists-nutritionists) or according to different pathologiessuch as diabetes (diabetologists treat type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes).

In addition, some gynecologists choose to take a two-year course in gynecological endocrinology. They are therefore specialists in endocrinology and gynecology.

Thyroid problems, diabetes, PCOS… Why go see an endocrinologist? What diseases does it treat?

As stated above, the endocrinologist can manage a very wide variety of disorders. Most often, he deals with thyroid pathologies :

  • hypothyroidism;
  • hyperthyroidism;
  • the presence of thyroid nodules (cancerous or not);
  • the presence of goiter linked to inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis), Graves’ disease, or taking certain medications;
  • etc

This medical specialist also takes care of diabeteslinked to a dysfunction of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas.

It is also possible to consult it in case of:

  • ofpituitary gland damage (Cushing’s disease, adenomas, acromegaly, etc.);
  • ofdamage to the adrenal glands (Addison’s disease, for example);
  • ofhormonal abnormalities of the female or male reproductive system (menopause, precocious puberty, gonadal failure, sterility or infertility, etc.);
  • of metabolic problem (overweight, obesity, etc.);
  • of excessive hair growthe (hirsutism);
  • of one hormonal acne problem (characteristic of polycystic ovary syndrome);
  • of undernutrition disorderssuch as intestinal malabsorptions
  • of eating disorderssuch as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Finally, the endocrinologist can manage pediatric pathologies related to growth, nutrition, congenital thyroid pathologies, etc.

Loss or gain of weight, excess hair, sleep disorders… What signs should lead to consultation?

Given the variety of pathologies involved, it is difficult to draw up a list of warning symptoms. The main consultation factors are:

  • significant weight loss or gain;
  • unusual tiredness or irritability;
  • persistent acne and hyperseborrhoea;
  • hair problems (hirsutism);
  • sleep disturbances;
  • high sensitivity to temperature changes;
  • libido disorders;
  • erectile dysfunction or gynecomastia in men,
  • etc

Do I need a prescription for the first appointment?

Most patients are referred to an endocrinologist by a general practitioner, a cardiologist or a dermatologist. The prescription allows you to benefit from a classic reimbursement of costs.

But some patients go directly to endocrinologists, without following the coordinated care pathway, especially in the event of a metabolic problem (such as overweight or obesity). In this case, refunds are greatly reduced.

Prepare well for your first meeting

Like any medical appointment, an endocrinology consultation must be prepared. Before D-Day, list your symptoms and clearly explain their history. Take your prescription and remember to gather all the elements of your medical file (previous and current prescriptions to avoid drug interactions, results of blood tests for possible hormonal assessment, ultrasound, scanner, MRI, etc.). So many essential documents to allow the doctor to make a diagnosis.

D-Day: course of an endocrinology consultation

The first endocrinology consultation always begins with a precise interrogation (anamnesis), which allows the doctor to take stock of the patient’s history, symptoms and history.

Then comes the time of thephysical examination (painless and non-invasive): the doctor scrupulously examines the patient (his heart, his thyroid, his feet, his skin, etc.).

The endocrinologist then takes note of the previously performed examinations.

If necessary, he will prescribe new exams that will allow him to refine or guide his diagnosis. In this case, the patient will have to come back with his results for analysis and implementation of a specific treatment.

Note: in case of chronic disease such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, the patient will have to follow up over the long term to regularly monitor the evolution of his hormones and the effectiveness of the treatment. In some cases, the endocrinologist may also recommend a cardiology, ophthalmology or even nephrology consultation to set up complete monitoring.

What tests does this hormone specialist do?

the endocrinologist realizes endocrine assessments including:

  • blood tests;
  • tests exploring the functioning of the endocrine glands;
  • a urinalysis;
  • an ultrasound;
  • a scintigraphy;
  • a scanner ;
  • an MRI;
  • etc

If he suspects diabetes, he can also measure blood sugar.

Price: how much does a visit to an endocrinologist cost? Is it reimbursed?

The rates for endocrinology consultations differ depending on the reputation of the patient, the location of his practice, his fees, etc. Better to find out in advance.

If the course of care is respected (if you consulted your attending physician before making an appointment), said consultations are reimbursed at 70%. The rest can be covered by your health insurance.

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