Q:

Are thyroid specialists different than endocrinologists?

A:

Quick Answer

Thyroid specialists are endocrinologists but not all endocrinologists are thyroid specialists, according to Mary Shomon for About.com. Endocrinologists can also specialize in other glandular disorders, and not all of them are well-versed in thyroid problems.

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Full Answer

Endocrinologists are doctors who specialize in glandular problems, which can describe many health issues, explains Hormone Health Network. These glandular problems can include disorders ranging from menopause and osteoporosis to certain cancers, diabetes and even infertility.

The number of disorders that endocrinologists can specialize in means that finding a specialist is important for proper treatment and management, states Mary Shomon for About.com. The American Thyroid Association maintains a list of qualified specialists. As of 2015, there is a shortage of endocrinologists in the United States; thus, many work outside of their specific area of expertise. However, patients should try to see an endocrinologist who specializes in thyroid problems if possible.

If a thyroid specialist is not available, using a general practitioner or an endocrinologist specializing in other areas is also a reasonable course of action, notes Shomon. The most important thing is the doctor listens to the patient and is willing to test for a variety of conditions, and then work with the patient to find a suitable treatment plan. A thyroid specialist with the time and resources to accomplish this is ideal, but any qualified and interested doctor may be able to research and test enough to provide quality care. If surgery is needed, a surgeon experienced in thyroid procedures is important because experienced surgeons have lower rates of complications.

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