An endocrinologist is a medical doctor that specializes in the area of studying the endocrine system--the system of glands in your body and associated hormones that the glands produce. Pediatric endocrinologists are physicians that not only practice endocrinology, but have expertise in treating children who need this type of specialized care. The reasons for your child needing to see an endocrinologist vary; your pediatrician will refer you to an appropriate doctor depending on the specifics of your child's health.
Unusually Short Stature
Children who are not growing as tall as their peers may need to see an endocrinologist to determine if they have a growth hormone deficiency. The Magic Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing information about children's growth disorders, explains that most kids grow at least 2 inches in height between the age of 2 years old and the onset of puberty. Children who do not meet this minimum criteria, or who suffer from a variety of conditions that can lead to short stature, may not produce enough of the hormones that control growth. An endocrinologist examines your child, takes a detailed family medical history and performs blood tests to measure hormone levels before making a diagnosis and prescribing a treatment.
- Children who are not growing as tall as their peers may need to see an endocrinologist to determine if they have a growth hormone deficiency.
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A diagnosis of type-1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, may require a visit to a pediatric endocrinologist 1. Type-1 diabetics are dependent on taking insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels; an endocrinologist can help you and your child learn how to administer insulin and adjusts dosages when needed.
Other Gland Problems
You may also need to send your child to an endocrinologist to address other problems involving hormonal imbalances of the glands that can affect bodily function. The American Academy of Pediatrics explains that the thyroid and pituitary glands can produce either too much or too little of their respective hormones, which can make metabolism and even heart function either too efficient, i.e. a racing heartbeat, or too sluggish. Adrenal gland problems that your child is born with, such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or CAH, is another medical condition that is treated under the supervision of an endocrinologist.
- You may also need to send your child to an endocrinologist to address other problems involving hormonal imbalances of the glands that can affect bodily function.
- Adrenal gland problems that your child is born with, such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or CAH, is another medical condition that is treated under the supervision of an endocrinologist.
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- HealthyChildren.org: What is a Pediatric Endocrinologist?
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International: Type 1 Diabetes
- Bornstein, S.; Allolio, B.; Arlt, W. et al. Diagnosis and Treatment of Primary Adrenal Insufficiency: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Feb;101(2):364-89. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2015-1710.
- True, M.; Folaron, I.; Wardian, J. et al. Leadership Training in Endocrinology Fellowship? A Survey of Program Directors and Recent Graduates. J Endocrine Soc. 2017 Mar;1(3):174-85. DOI: 10.1210/js.2016-1062.
- Vigersky, R.; Fish, L.; Hogan, P. et al. The Clinical Endocrinology Workforce: Current Status and Future Projections of Supply and Demand. J Clin Endocrinol Metabol. 2014 Sept;99(1):3112-21. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2014-2257.
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.