“Tell me a little bit about what brings you in today.” I start every new-patient visit with this simple request.
I am an endocrinologist, a doctor specializing in glands and hormones. I care for patients, mostly women, like myself, in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, in a busy practice in New York City. Each day my patients describe their symptoms and I try to sort out how these symptoms — like fatigue, poor sleep, strange periods, and sore boobs — and their hormones are connected. Educating patients about that connection and helping them feel better is the best part of my job.
When I graduated from medical school, I had to choose a specialty to continue my training. I chose endocrinology because hormones are fascinating! In the words of one of my mentors, endocrinology is a Goldilocks problem: too much or too little feels terrible, but get hormone levels just right and patients feel great. I really enjoy helping my patients find that balance.
Endocrinology is a corner of medicine where we treat people and they get better. I have experienced this firsthand. After my third pregnancy, I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem. The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones that affect how quickly our body works. All hormones affect every part of our body — I was so tired it was hard to get up each morning even after a full night of sleep, and my body felt puffy, like I had been inflated with a bicycle pump. But with medication, I felt my symptoms gradually improve as my thyroid hormone levels normalized.
When I see patients, my intention is to listen and work with them to implement a data-driven treatment plan. But the number of patients I can see in my office is limited — there is only so much time. Writing Hot Flash every week will give me the opportunity to share my understanding and love of hormones with a wider audience. I want to give you the information you need to have a productive, evidence-based conversation about hormonal health with your doctor.
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