Endocrine Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Best Treatments

Endocrine disorders are a very common disease nowadays. The endocrine system is the network of glands that secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. These hormones control various metabolic activities and the development of different body organs. Endocrine disorders can also be referred to as endocrine myopathies—pathologies meaning diseases of the endocrine system.

There are various types of endocrine disorders, each with its own set of symptoms and treatment options. In this article, I tried my level best to talk about these major health issues and their causes, symptoms, and how to treat these problems.

What are Endocrine disorders?

The endocrine gland is a network of a system that is the combination of eight major glands that controls all the body functions such as the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, adrenal gland, and pancreas by releasing specific hormones into your bloodstream. This system affects growth and development, metabolism, and mood.

When the hormone levels of your body produce an excessive or insufficient amount of hormones this system creates unusual conditions and starts doing abnormal behavior. As a result, major hormones do not respond properly the way it is supposed to. These abnormalities are medically called endocrine diseases or disorders.

Endocrine glands are very important to correct the functioning of some important hormones like growth and development, sexual function,
metabolism, and reproduction.

Endocrine disorders have two major categories:

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Primary endocrine disorders are conditions in which the body is producing an excessive amount of one particular hormone. Examples include hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, cardiomegaly, etc. Primary parts of the endocrine system include the…

1. hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is situated in the ventral brain, near the optic chiasm which produces Tryrotropin- Releasing-Hormones (TRH)(GnRH), (GHRH) (CRH).  The hypothalamus secretes hormones that stimulate the function of the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, adrenal glands, kidneys, and reproductive organs. The hypothalamus controls our body’s water balance, heart rate, sleep, sex drive, temperature, mood, appetite, and blood pressure.

2. Pineal body

The pineal body is located below the corpus callosum, the back portion of the third cerebral ventricle of the brain. It gives sexual maturity and creates melatonin, which involves waking and sleeping.

3. Pituitary gland

The pituitary gland is a pea-sized endocrine gland which is located below the brain. It has two parts Anterior pituitary and posterior pituitary Anterior pituitary gland releases hormones like…

  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Growth hormone (GH)
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  • Prolactin
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

The posterior pituitary gland releases hormones like:

  • Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)
  • Oxytocin

This gland controls many important functions, and it tells the endocrine systems to release hormones.

4. Thyroid and parathyroid

The thyroid gland and parathyroid glands are located in front of the neck and release very vital hormones for the body.  The thyroid gland uses iodine from our food intake and makes thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). It is very important to work the thyroid gland properly, especially of maintaining our body’s metabolism.

The parathyroid glands are placed behind the thyroid gland & play an important role in the regulation of the body’s calcium balance in the blood.

5. Thymus

The thymus is located in the upper part of the chest behind our breastbones, which is a very small organ but very essential for our immune system & for maintaining the body’s defense mechanism. It produces white blood cells called T-Lymphocytes that fight against infections and destroy abnormal cells.

6. Adrenal gland

An adrenal gland is called the supra renal gland located on top of each kidney. It is a triangular-shaped gland that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline produce corticosteroid hormones and epinephrine hormones to maintain the good function of metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, etc.

7. Pancreas

The pancreas is a glandular organ located across the back of the abdomen, behind the stomach releases pancreatic juices to help digestion. The pancreas regulates two different functions like…

  • Exocrine function (produces enzymes which help digestion)
  • Endocrine function (Produces hormones like insulin, glucagon is sent to the bloodstream and maintains normal levels of these hormones)

8. Ovaries

A woman’s ovaries are oval-shaped glands located on both sides of the uterus and where the eggs formed. It is below the opening of the fallopian tubes that create the most important female hormones estrogen and progesterone which are associated with female reproduction.

These hormones control the female menstrual cycle, ovulation, pregnancy, traits, such as breast development, body shape, and the amount of hair in the body.

9. Testicles

The testes are 2 small egg-shaped male reproductive organs that are located inside the scrotum. The testes are divided into parts called globules responsible for making sperm and are also involved in producing a hormone called testosterone. Testosterone has a vital role in producing male hormones during male development and gives maturation of muscles, deepens the voice, and involves growing body hair.

Besides the production of sperm, testicles have also produced male hormones called androgens. Androgens control the male reproductive system by creating quality sperm, and it also influences sexual functions.

2. Secondary endocrine disorders:

Secondary endocrine disorders are conditions in which the body is producing an insufficient amount of one particular hormone. Examples include hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

The most common endocrine disorder is PCOS, affecting up to 30% of reproductive-age women. Symptoms include irregular or absent periods, facial hair, acne, thinning hair on the head (alopecia), and male-pattern baldness. Endocrine disorders may also cause weight gain or loss, increased or decreased appetite, or changes in body shape.

Endocrine disorders are diagnosed through a combination of symptoms and laboratory tests. While many can be treated with medication, surgery may be necessary for some conditions.

Symptoms of endocrine disorders:

Endocrine disorders are conditions of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of glands that secrete hormones into circulation, which then affect the growth, development, and functioning of different organs. There is a wide range of endocrine disorders, including The symptoms of endocrine disorders may include:

  • Weight gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches or pains
  • Headaches
  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

In addition to symptoms of endocrine disorders, there are other signs that may indicate that you may have an endocrine disorder. Some of these include:

  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive sweating
  • Brittle hair or nails
  • Increased thirst/frequent urination

Causes of endocrine disorders:

An endocrine disorder is mostly caused due to hormonal imbalances, certain conditions of producing too much or too little of a hormone than needed. This behavior can be caused by three main causes:

  1. The underproduction of some specific hormones.
  2. Overproduction of hormones.
  3. A malfunction in production or breakdown of correct functioning.
  • If you have a genetic disorder by birth then you have the chance of getting endocrine disorders.
  • Furthermore, sometimes it can be caused by some infection or injury to an endocrine gland disease like multiple endocrine neoplasms (MEN) or congenital hypothyroidism.
  • Endocrine disorders can sometimes occur due to nodules or tumors developing in the endocrine system. But this is very little Chance for an endocrine nodule or lump to become cancerous or spread to another part of the body, it can
  • interrupt the endocrine system’s hormone production.
  • Facing problems or imbalanced functioning with the endocrine feedback system.
  • In some cases, the dysfunction of one gland causes difficulty in performing the function and causes unwanted failure to release hormones of another gland.  (for example, if there is a failure caused in the hypothalamus gland then it can disrupt hormone production in the pituitary gland)
  • If there is a tumor of an endocrine gland then probably it can’t function properly, so this reason is also one of the causes of dysfunction of the endocrine system.

Treatment of endocrine disorders:

Endocrine disorders can be caused by a wide variety of medical conditions, including both genetic and environmental factors. They can include problems with the thyroid, pituitary, or adrenal glands.

Treatments depend on the type of disorder like which glands are misbehaving or misfunctioning because everyone has their different kinds of problems and symptoms.o Treatment for endocrine disorders depends on the underlying cause:

  • Some treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy.
  • May be prescribed medication to help relieve symptoms caused by hormone deficiencies
  • to rebalance hormones and treat symptoms.
  • Meanwhile, sometimes it needs surgery or radiation therapy, which are designed to correct underlying issues or to remove cancerous tumors
  • and restore balance to the body’s endocrine system.
  • Surgery to remove a tumor on a gland that is affecting hormone production.
  • Although there are also many options available for relief from side effects. In addition, there is always the option of avoiding medication altogether through lifestyle changes, and exercises. Eating anti-inflammatory drinks or tonic water, include fresh veggies and fruits, nuts, milk, juices, fiber, vital vitamins, and minerals in your diet to control your imbalances naturally.

Read More: Benefits of Regular Physical Activity.

Endocrine disorders are a group of conditions with abnormal functioning of hormone-producing glands, either not enough or too much production. So be aware of some abnormal physical conditions related to endocrine disorders and take the initial step immediately. Understanding the signs and risk factors for an endocrine disorder can help you take steps towards prevention or early detection.

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