Everything You Should Know About Hormonal Diseases | Endocrinology

Hormonal Diseases

What are hormonal diseases or endocrine disorders?

Hormonal diseases or endocrine disorders are connected to the endocrine glands of the body. The endocrine system produces hormones, which are chemical signals sent through the bloodstream. Hormones help the body regulate processes such as appetite, respiration, growth, fluid balance, feminization and virilization, and weight control.

The endocrine system consists of several glands, including the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain, the adrenal glands in the kidneys, and the thyroid in the neck, as well as the pancreas, ovaries. The most common endocrine illnesses are associated with the improper functioning of the pancreas and the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands.

Types of endocrine disorders

There are many different types of endocrine disorders. Diabetes is the most endocrine disorder. Other endocrine disorders include:

Adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal gland releases too little of the hormone cortisol and sometimes, aldosterone. Symptoms include fatigue, stomach upset, dehydration, and skin changes. Addison’s disease is a type of adrenal insufficiency.

Cushing’s disease. The overproduction of a hormone from the pituitary gland leads to an overactive adrenal gland. A similar condition called Cushing’s syndrome can occur in people, particularly children, who take high doses of corticosteroid medications.

Gigantism (acromegaly) and other growth hormone problems. If the pituitary gland makes too much growth hormone, a child’s bones and body parts can grow abnormally fast. If development hormone levels are too low, a child may stop growing in height.

Hyperthyroidism The thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, leading to weight loss, rapid heart rate, sweating, and nervousness. The most common cause of an overactive thyroid is an autoimmune disorder called Grave’s disease.

Multiple endocrine neoplasia I and II. These rare genetic conditions are passed down from parent to child. They cause tumours of the parathyroid, adrenal, and thyroid glands, leading to an over the fabrication of hormones.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The overproduction of androgens inhibits the expansion of eggs and their release from the female ovaries. PCOS is one of the important causes of infertility.

What are the symptoms of hormonal diseases?

The symptoms of endocrine disorders can vary from mild or even nonexistent to severe and affect the complete body and overall sense of well-being. Specific symptoms depend on the specific part of the endocrine system affected.

Common symptoms of diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is the most common endocrine disorder and occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body cannot use available insulin. Indications of type 1 and type 2 diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain

Acromegaly is an illness in which the pituitary gland overproduces development hormone. This leads to symptoms of overgrowth, particularly of the hands and feet.

Symptoms of acromegaly include:

  • Abnormally large lips, nose or tongue
  • Abnormally large or swollen hands or feet
  • Altered facial bone structure
  • Body and joint aches
  • Deep voice
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headaches
  • Overgrowth of bone and cartilage and condensing of the skin
  • Sexual dysfunction, including decreased libido
  • Sleep apnea
  • Vision impairment

Common symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome rises from extra cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands. Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include:

  • Buffalo hump (fat between the shoulder blades)
  • Discolouration of the skin, such as bruises
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Thinning and weakening of the bones (osteoporosis)
  • Frequent urination
  • High blood sugar level (hyperglycemia)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Rounded “moon” face
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Common symptoms of Graves disease

Graves’ disease is a type of hyperthyroidism that causes excess production of thyroid hormone. Common symptoms of Graves disease include:

  • Bulging eyes (Graves ophthalmopathy)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty to sleep
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
  • Heat intolerance
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Fast heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Thick or red skin on the pimples
  • Tremors
  • Unexplained weight loss

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is underactive and produces too slight thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism can often be asymptomatic or very mild. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Intolerance to cold
  • Constipation
  • Decreased sweat production.
  • Dry hair
  • Fatigue
  • Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Slower heart rate
  • Swelling in the face
  • Unexplained weight gain

Causes of hormonal diseases

There are many possible causes of hormonal diseases. The causes differ depending on the hormones or glands affected. Common causes of hormonal imbalance include:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid
  • Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid
  • Hypogonadism
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Over functioning thyroid nodules
  • Hormone therapy
  • Tumours (benign or cancerous)
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Eating disorders
  • Stress
  • Suprarrenal insufficiency
  • Pituitary tumour
  • Cancer treatments

Causes unique to women

Many causes of hormonal diseases in women are related to reproductive hormones. Common causes include:

  • Menopause
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency, which is also known as premature menopause.
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • PCOS
  • Hormone drugs such as birth control pills

Treatment for hormonal diseases

Treatment for hormonal diseases can vary depending on the cause. Each person may require different types of treatment for hormonal imbalances.

Treatment options for women with hormonal diseases include:

  • Hormonal or contraceptive control. For those who are not trying to get pregnant, medications that contain forms of estrogen and progesterone can help regulate menstrual cycles and symptoms.
  • Vaginal estrogen. People experiencing vaginal dryness related to changes in estrogen levels can apply creams that contain estrogen directly to vaginal tissues to decrease symptoms. They can also use estrogen tablets to decrease vaginal dryness.
  • Hormone replacement drugs. Medications are obtainable to temporarily reduce severe symptoms related to menopause, such as hot flashes or night sweats.
  • Eflornithine (Vaniqa). This prescription cream can slow the excessive growth of facial hair in women.
  • Anti-androgen drugs. Medications that block androgen, the predominantly male hormone, can help limit severe acne and excessive hair growth or loss.
  • Clomiphene (Clomid) and letrozole (Femara).These medications help stimulate ovulation in people with PCOS who are trying to get pregnant. People with PCOS and infertility can also receive gonadotropin injections to help increase the chances of pregnancy.
  • Assisted reproductive technology. In vitro fertilization (IVF) can be used to help people with complications of PCOS become pregnant.

Treatment options for anyone with hormonal diseases include:

  • A medicine for type 2 diabetes, metformin can help control or lower blood sugar levels.
  • Medications that contain levothyroxine, such as Synthroid and Levothroid, can help improve the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Treatment options for men with hormonal diseases include:

  • Testosterone drugs. Gels and patches that contain testosterone can help reduce symptoms of hypogonadism and other conditions that cause low testosterone, such as delayed or atrophied puberty.

hormonal diseases diagnosis

There is no single test obtainable for doctors to diagnose hormonal diseases. Start by making an appointment with your doctor for a physical exam. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and the timeline along which they occurred. Bring a list of all the medications, vitamins, and supplements you are currently taking.

Your doctor may ask you questions such as:

  • How often are you experiencing symptoms?
  • Does anything help relieve your symptoms?
  • Have you lost or gained weight recently?
  • Are you more stressed than usual?
  • When was your last period?
  • Are you planning to get pregnant?
  • Do you have trouble getting or maintaining an erection?
  • Do you have vaginal dryness or pain during sex?

Blood test

Your doctor will send a sample of your blood to a lab for testing. Most hormones can be detected in the blood. A doctor can request a blood test to check your thyroid and your levels of estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol.

Pelvic exam

If you’re female, your doctor may perform a Pap smear to feel for any unusual lumps, cysts, or tumours. If you’re male, your doctor may check your scrotum for any lumps or abnormalities.


An ultrasound machine uses sound waves to look inside your body. Doctors may use an ultrasound to take pictures of the uterus, ovaries, testicles, thyroid, or pituitary gland.

Additional exams

Sometimes more advanced tests are required. These may include:

  • Biopsy
  • Magnetic resonance
  • X-rays
  • Thyroid scan
  • Sperm count

Complications of hormonal diseases

Hormonal diseases are associated with many chronic, or long-term, health conditions. Without proper treatment, you could be at risk for several serious medical conditions, including:

  • Diabetes (type 1 and type 2)
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Kidney damage
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Infertility
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Goiter
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