Endocrinologists can help you regulate your hormone levels and speed up your metabolism to aid in weight loss. Here’s how.

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Yes, they can.

You can gain weight for a number of different reasons — hormone conditions being one of them.

Endocrinologists are experts in metabolism and hormonal changes. They can treat the weight gain these conditions either cause or contribute to.

They do this by helping regulate hormone levels and speed up metabolism.

Endocrinologists can also help treat diseases that may affect weight, like type 2 diabetes.

Endocrinologists specialize in studying the endocrine system and treating conditions within this system.

Essentially, that means they can help diagnose and treat hormone-related conditions, which can have a wide-reaching impact on the body.

Hormones help regulate the likes of growth, reproduction, and metabolism. And hormonal imbalances can affect all of these processes.

So, endocrinologists aim to rebalance hormone levels and provide other ways to manage endocrine conditions.

Several hormone conditions can have an impact on your weight. Endocrinologists can help with all of them.

These conditions tend to include:

If you haven’t already received a diagnosis, an endocrinologist can determine whether weight gain is from hormonal changes, such as too much or too little of a certain hormone.

An endocrinologist or other healthcare professional may prescribe you a weight loss medication, such as phentermine or Contrave. But these aren’t that effective alone, meaning you need to make certain lifestyle changes, too.

Many of these medications work by suppressing appetite, stimulating your metabolism, or making it more difficult for your body to absorb fat from food.

Not only can they help you lose weight, but they can also help you keep the weight off.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, people who take weight loss medication combined with lifestyle strategies lose 3% to 12% more of their initial body weight after 1 year than people who alter their lifestyle alone.

You may experience side effects while taking prescription medication, such as:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth or an unpleasant taste
  • nausea or vomiting

More serious side effects require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • heart palpitations
  • breathlessness
  • chest pain or tightness
  • dizziness or fainting
  • tremors or seizures

Other medications that help manage underlying conditions, such as diabetes and hormone replacement drugs, may be prescribed instead of weight loss medications.

Weight loss surgery is an option, too. Considered quite effective, it provides a more permanent solution to weight management.

A specialist in this area can assess whether you’re a good candidate for surgery.

Not everyone will be prescribed weight loss medication. An endocrinologist or other healthcare professional will assess you to see whether you’re eligible.

This often involves using body mass index (BMI). If your BMI is 30 or greater, you may be eligible for medication.

That also applies if you have a BMI of 27 or more and have a weight-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

If you have certain health conditions or take other medications, you may not be able to take some weight loss drugs.

For example, phentermine cannot be taken with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which are used to treat depression, or if you have heart disease or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

Whatever clinical course of action is decided, you will still likely need to make some lifestyle changes to help you lose weight.

Finding ways to improve dietary habits for the long term is a good idea, as is trying to exercise most days of the week.

Endocrinologists and other professionals like dietitians can assist with this. For example, they might recommend eating slower to give digestive hormones time to signal to the brain that you’re full.

Some people find that cutting down on fats and carbohydrates and eating more low calorie foods, such as fruit and vegetables, helps.

When it comes to exercise, you may not need to aim for a long gym workout each day. Instead, a brisk walk can be a good starting point that you can build on.

Can an endocrinologist prescribe medication for weight loss?

Yes, endocrinologists can prescribe weight loss medications as well as other treatments for underlying issues that may be contributing to weight gain.

They will also help with lifestyle changes and support you throughout the entire process.

Should you contact an endocrinologist about unexplained weight loss?

It’s often best to visit a general doctor if you’re losing weight unexpectedly. They can then refer you to specialists, like endocrinologists, where needed.

If you lose more than 5% of your body weight within 6 to 12 months and haven’t changed your diet or activity levels, it’s best to seek medical advice.

But if you’re concerned about a smaller amount of weight loss, don’t hesitate to reach out to a doctor, either. They’re there to help.

How can an endocrinologist help with obesity?

Endocrinologists study hormones and how hormone levels impact the body in various ways.

If your hormones are believed to be impacting your weight, an endocrinologist will diagnose the underlying issue and treat it.

For example, you may have an underactive thyroid that’s contributing to weight gain and maintenance. Without regulating this, you’re unlikely to see long-term results.

Even if an endocrinologist doesn’t find an underlying contributor to your weight, they’ll still be able to rule out various issues and help you manage obesity via medications and lifestyle changes.

What else can an endocrinologist help with?

Endocrinologists can help treat several other conditions, including:

  • diabetes
  • PCOS
  • adrenal disorders, such as Addison’s disease
  • thyroid disease
  • pituitary gland disorders
  • osteoporosis
  • calcium issues

They can also help with menstrual concerns and the effects of cancer treatment on the endocrine system.

Whether you’ve recently gained significant weight or have been trying to lose weight for a while, an endocrinologist can be a good specialist to visit.

They will assess your endocrine system to see whether there’s a hormone- or metabolism-related issue and advise you on the best path to take, which may include medication and lifestyle changes.

Losing weight can be a complex process that takes time and requires more than one approach.

Working with healthcare professionals to devise a plan that works for you and your lifestyle and giving them regular updates can help keep you on track.

Lauren Sharkey is a U.K.-based journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she isn’t trying to discover a way to banish migraines, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on Twitter.