What is a pediatric endocrinologist?
If your child has problems with growth, puberty, diabetes or other disorders related to the hormones and glands that produce them, a pediatric endocrinologist could treat it.
Hormones are chemicals that affect the way other parts of the body work. For example, hormones decide how a child grows and matures. Endocrine glands, such as the pituitary gland, release hormones into the bloodstream. Endocrinology is the science that studies these glands and the effects of hormones.
The problems that a pediatric endocrinologist sees are often very different from those commonly seen by an endocrinologist who cares for adults. Special training in pediatric conditions related to growth and development is important. Hormonal problems are often present for life. Pediatric endocrinologists treat hormonal disorders at all stages of childhood and adolescence.
What kind of training do pediatric endocrinologists have?
Pediatric endocrinologists are medical doctors who have had:
• Four years of medical studies
• Three years of residency in pediatrics
• Three or more years of post-residency training in pediatric endocrinology
What types of treatment do pediatric endocrinologists provide?
Pediatric endocrinologists are responsible for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of hormonal disorders including the following:
• Growth problems, such as short height
• Early or late puberty
• Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter)
• Subactivity and overactivity of the thyroid gland
• Hypofunction or hyperfunction of the pituitary gland
Hypofunction or hyperfunction of the adrenal gland
• Ambiguous genitals / intersex
• Ovarian and testicular dysfunction
• Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
• Problems with vitamin D (rickets, hypocalcemia)
Pediatric endocrinologists: optimal care for children
Children are not just adults as a child. As growing individuals they have special needs related to their growth and development. In addition, their psychological needs are different from those of adults. Hormonal problems that affect sexual growth or development can have significant effects on the child's physical and emotional well-being. Pediatric endocrinologists are sensitive to these aspects.
A pediatric endocrinologist treats your child in an environment appropriate for children and adolescents. Support staff, including nurses, psychologists, pediatric diabetes educators and nutritionists, are attuned to the needs of children and adolescents.
Children with special needs require pediatric endocrinologists to work closely with primary care pediatricians to provide coordinated and comprehensive care. Pediatric endocrinologists have extensive training and experience in the management of children and in the treatment of children with endocrine disorders and hormonal problems.
If your pediatrician suggests that your child be treated by a pediatric endocrinologist, be sure the child will receive the best medical care possible.