ZocdocAnswersWhat kind of a doctor can help diagnose if I have a hormonal imbalance?

Question

What kind of a doctor can help diagnose if I have a hormonal imbalance?

I am a 24 year old woman with an onset of the following symptoms over the past 8 months: Brittle, thinning hair, fatigue, irregular periods (can skip a month, last 2 weeks or have spotting in between), night sweats. It might be of note that I was on a birth control pill, Othro Tri-Cyclin low, for about 4 years and discontinued taking them a year and a half ago. The only medication I am currently taking is a Biotin 5000mcg supplement.

Answer

I would recommend that you start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she can start the work up of your potential problems. If required he or she may refer you to an endocrinologist (a specialist of the hormones in your body), but starting with a primary care doctor is often helpful. The most common hormonal imbalance that could cause these symptoms is an abnormality of the thyroid hormone. Specifically, a low thyroid hormone, known as hypothyroidism, can cause these problems. The thyroid hormone is made by the thyroid gland (located in the lower neck) which is the "energy hormone" that helps facilitate energy use in the body. With low thyroid levels one experiences fatigue, feels cold often, has thinning of the hair, menstrual irregularities and often constipation. A quick blood test can diagnose this. There are other hormonal imbalances that could cause this. Notably, a low steroid level (low cortisol level) could cause this. There are none hormonal causes of your symptoms -- one of the reasons to start with a primary doctor. Notably, your irregular periods should be evaluated. In addition, night sweats is a worrying symptoms for potentially an infection or a disease of the blood. Talk to your primary care doctor. Good luck!

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