Many years ago as a resident, I remember overhearing a co-resident answering a patient’s question. “Dok, ano ho ba ang internist?” (Translated, “Doctor, what is an internist?”). My colleague answered, “Doktor ng lamang-loob!” (Translated, “Doctor of the internal organs!”). I found that funny then. But lately I’ve been wishing it were easier to explain exactly what an ENDOCRINOLOGIST is!
So, what’s an endocrinologist? An endocrinologist is an INTERNIST with special training and board certification in ENDOCRINOLOGY.
And what is endocrinology? It is that branch of medicine concerned with endocrine glands and hormones.
Okay, so what’s an endocrine GLAND? What are HORMONES? Are you starting to see how convoluted this can get as I attempt to explain to patients exactly what I do 🙂
I like what hormone.org has to say about what an endocrinologist is!
Endocrinologists are trained to diagnose and treat hormone imbalances and problems by helping to restore the normal balance of hormones in your system. They take care of many conditions including:
- thyroid diseases
- metabolic disorders
- over- or underproduction of hormones
- cholesterol (lipid) disorders
- lack of growth (short stature)
- cancers of the endocrine glands
What kind of training does an endocrinologist in the Philippines have? Let me break this down – 4 years of medical school, one year of internship, three years of internal medicine residency and 2 years of endocrinology fellowship. That’s a total of TEN years training!
How many board examinations or certifications? THREE! Medicine, internal medicine and endocrinology. Currently, there are only five hospitals in Manila which have an endocrinology program –
- Philippine General Hospital
- UST Hospital
- Makati Medical Center
- St. Luke’s Medical Center
- The Medical City
As you can imagine, competition is fierce to get into these programs. So the next time you need to see a doctor, say for a thyroid problem or diabetes, try an endocrinologist!