Endocrine disorders are conditions that affect the endocrine system. The endocrine system consists of glands that produce hormones important for a wide range of body tissues and functions. When endocrine disorders develop, the hormones aren't used as normal. The treatment methods that are used depend on the specifics of the disorder a person has. Often, however, treatment includes hormone replacement therapy or surgical removal of the glands involved.
There are many types of endocrine disorders. They typically form because a person has either too much or too little of a particular hormone. In some cases, these disorders also develop because the hormone the body produces is abnormal in some way or the organ or tissue that needs the hormone cannot use it as it should. Among the conditions that can result from endocrine disorders are obesity, osteoporosis, infertility, growth abnormality, thyroid dysfunction, and even diabetes.
Thyroid dysfunction is one of the common endocrine disorders. The thyroid gland is small, located in the lower neck, and often referred to as a butterfly shape. It produces hormones that regulate a person's metabolism. There are different types of thyroid disorders, but treatment is usually aimed at returning a person's levels of thyroid hormone to normal. This may involve using a hormone replacement drug or taking drugs that help to block the production of the hormone.
Infertility is another condition that can be caused by an endocrine disorder. For example, a woman may lack enough of the hormones that help her body to produce a healthy egg each month, or she may lack the hormones that help her to sustain a pregnancy once it is achieved. In some cases, male infertility can be caused by low hormone levels as well. In both cases, hormone replacement therapy may be used to bring the hormone levels back to normal. It's important to note, however, that endocrine disorders aren't always the cause of infertility, and in other cases, hormone therapy may not work.
Cushing's syndrome is another condition that may be treated by doctors who specialize in endocrine disorders. This condition is marked by weight gain, fatigue, depression, acne, bone loss, and a range of other unpleasant symptoms. It develops when a person has experienced a long period of time with high levels of a hormone called cortisol. Sometimes this can be caused by certain medications, but it can also develop when the body produces cortisol in excess of the amount that is needed. In some cases, medication may be used to control the production of this hormone, but some patients may need surgery or even radiation therapy.