What is Endocrinology?



University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust 


Department of Diabetes & Endocrinology

Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, LE1 5WW



Endocrinology is study of the control of hormones in the body, and disorders of these hormones and the glands which control them.


Hormones are substances which are made in hormone glands within the body and secreted into the blood stream where they travel to have effects on many other organs and tissues within the body. Hormones are an essential part of the control of the body’s metabolism, the body’s response to stress and illness and of growth and development.


Hormone glands include the thyroid gland, adrenal gland, pituitary gland, parathyroid gland and the ovaries (in women) and testicles or testes (in men).


The Clinical Specialty of Endocrinology deals with diseases and disorders of these hormone glands. Disorders often cause under-production or over-production of the relevant hormones, and may sometimes involve enlargement of the gland (mostly by a benign growth and rarely by a cancer of these organs) which may be noticed by the patient or their doctor or found incidentally on scans performed for other reasons.


The most common endocrine disorders include an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis), an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), thyroid enlargement and polycystic ovary syndrome. Other conditions seen regularly in our clinic include pituitary disorders, calcium problems and adrenal deficiency, but there are a large number of endocrine problems which may be seen in our clinic.