What Is Reproductive Endocrinology?

What Is Reproductive Endocrinology?

Endocrinology is the field of medicine that deals with hormones. Hormones are substances produced in one part of the body and exert an influence on the function or activity of another part of the body. Among other things, hormones regulate digestion and metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate and the body's response to stress. Reproductive endocrinology is the subspecialty of endocrinology that deals specifically with the hormones responsible for sexual and reproductive function.

Hormones and reproduction

Certain hormones that enter the subspecialty of reproductive endocrinology are produced by the reproductive organs themselves, such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, which are produced by the ovaries and testes. Other hormones that control the function of the reproductive organs are actually produced far from the reproductive organs. For example, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone are produced by the pituitary gland, a hormone-producing organ located at the base of the brain.

Background and training

In practice, the field of reproductive endocrinology is often associated with infertility: "reproductive endocrinology and infertility", or REI (for short). Unlike general endocrinologists, reproductive endocrinologists do not base their training on general internal medicine, but on obstetrics and gynecology. In the United States, after completing medical school, reproductive endocrinologists complete a four-year residency in all aspects of obstetrics and gynecology, including general and high-risk obstetrics, childbirth, gynecological surgery and gynecological cancer. They then complete a three-year subspecialty specifically in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Scope of specialty

Most patients seen by a reproductive endocrinologist are interested in achieving a healthy pregnancy. These include patients with problems such as age-related infertility, ovarian dysfunction or ovulation, blocked or abnormal fallopian tubes, low sperm count or other sperm problems, endometriosis, and hereditary or genetic diseases that await avoid transmitting to your offspring. In couples who have a significant problem related to sperm or some other problem specifically related to the male partner, a reproductive endocrinologist usually collaborates with a urologist who specializes in male fertility problems.Common treatments include medications for fertility, intrauterine insemination, also known as "artificial insemination," and in vitro fertilization. Many women with the hope of achieving a healthy pregnancy also require surgical treatment for conditions such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

Many reproductive endocrinologists also care for patients who are not interested in pregnancy, but who have problems specifically related to reproductive hormones. These may include patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, problems related to menopause, sexual dysfunction and abnormal sexual development.

Video Tutorial: World-Class Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. Martin Freedman: A Day in the Life.

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