Endocrinology is a field of medicine that covers the endocrine system, which includes hormones. Metabolism is related to endocrinology in that the field covers secretions of chemicals that are related to metabolism. Before we get more into the relationship between the two, we'll go over what each of these terms means and how they relate to the human body.
Endocrinology deals primarily with hormones. This is a wide area of specialty, in that there is a lot of conditions and processes that fall under its umbrella. An endocrinologist may deal with patients who have conditions such as menopause, diabetes, thyroid disease, cholesterol problems, infertility, growth problems, as well as metabolic disorders. The endocrine system is comprised of various glands that make different hormones, which influence various functions and processes in the body. Hormones are active in reproduction, metabolism, growth, and development.
Metabolism is the process of burning energy from foods and eliminating waste. You've probably heard people say that so and so has a fast or high metabolism. This means that their body burns their food quickly, as opposed to those with a slow metabolism whose body burns food slowly. Individuals with a high metabolism tend to be thinner than those with a slower metabolism, who tend to be heavier.
If an individual is overweight, he or she may visit an endocrinologist because hormones may play a role in their obesity. Obesity may be the result of adrenal, pituitary, ovarian, or thyroid problems. They may treat various factors that may contribute to obesity to help patients lose weight. An imbalance of certain hormones may cause problems with metabolism and can contribute to weight problems. Examples of hormones that may affect weight control include thyroid hormone, pituitary hormones, and more.
Reproductive hormones are the domain of the endocrinologist as well. Doctors may help those who are experiencing trouble getting pregnant and who believe they are suffering from infertility. They may provide hormone replacement therapy, and also deal with women going through menopause. Those with irregular periods, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), impotence, and premenstrual syndrome may find the assistance of an endocrinologist helpful in overcoming these conditions and / or becoming pregnant.
Before you visit an endocrinologist, you may have to first consult with your primary care physician. If he or she determines that your condition-whether metabolic or otherwise-may be hormone-related, they may give you a referral to an endocrinologist in the area.