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Endocrine glands are the parts of the body that excrete hormones. These glands include the pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenals, ovaries, and testes.
Endocrinology tests are clinical laboratory tests that measure the different hormones associated with these glands.
- These tests may be done as a part of a routine checkup or to rule out or diagnose a medical condition.
- Patients with known endocrine disorders may need endocrinology tests to be performed at the same time as other tests in order to monitor their overall health.
Types of Endocrinology Laboratory Tests
Some of the most common endocrinology laboratory tests that we perform include blood sugar or glucose tests. Tests of male and female sex hormone levels are also common. These tests include levels of follicle stimulating hormone, leutinizing hormone, estrogen and progesterone in women, and testosterone levels for men. Tests of the thyroid include thyroid stimulating hormone. If a thyroid disorder is suspected, additional tests such as anti-thyroid antibodies may be ordered. Prolactin tests are also common. This hormone may be found in cases of male and female breast cancer and in women who are breastfeeding.
Why Endocrinology Laboratory Tests Are Needed
You may need endocrinology clinical laboratory tests in order to diagnose pregnancy, diabetes, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, adrenal gland dysfunction, and many other medical problems. Clinical endocrinology lab tests are also used to monitor a medical condition that you already know about. For example, you may need to have an A1C test to determine how well your diabetes is being controlled. You may have orders for endocrinology tests to see how well your treatment or medication is working. For example, if you have the autoimmune thyroid disease Hashimoto’s disease, you may need to have your thyroid stimulating hormone, free T3 and free t4 measured to see how well you are responding to your synthetic thyroxine medicine.
Other hormone tests, such as leutinizing hormone, are used to measure whether or not a woman is having a menstrual cycle that could support a pregnancy. If a woman has a low progesterone level at the time of conception, she may need a progesterone shot or a progesterone pill to support a full-term pregnancy.
What is Done with the Results of Endocrinology Laboratory Tests?
After the endocrinology tests have been processed in our clinical laboratory, your doctor will receive your results and share them with you. If the tests were used to diagnose a condition, you may then be able to start a treatment plan. If your results showed that your medication needs an adjustment, your doctor will work with you. In some cases, clinical endocrinology tests are performed in succession in order to watch your response to a new treatment. This may also be done with human chorionic gonadotropin during the first few weeks of a pregnancy. Monitoring of this hormone level helps doctors to know if a pregnancy is developing normally. You may need follow-up endocrinology tests as directed by your doctor.