What is an endocrinologist?

An endocrinologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats issues to do with the endocrine system, which is a network of glands that produce and release hormones.
These glands include the pancreas, the pituitary, the thyroid, the ovaries and the testes. How well these glands work affects many different functions in the human body. So if there is a problem with the pancreas, which produces insulin, a patient may be affected by diabetes. An endocrinologist will have a degree in medicine, and will then undertake specialist training, culminating in a fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

What does an endocrinologist do?

An endocrinologist investigates and treats a wide range of endocrine or hormone-related disorders that may be triggered by disease or injury, or that could be genetic in nature.

These include adrenal disorders such as Cushing’s disease, cancers like thyroid cancers, disorders affecting children’s growth, gynecological disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid diseases like hyperthyroidism.

This is just a snapshot of the many disorders endocrinologists can help with, and they will frequently work with other healthcare professionals to provide the best patient care.

On a day-to-day basis, an endocrinologist will diagnose endocrine disorders with the help of various tests, and treat them with hormone replacement therapies, or, in some cases, surgery. The aim is to restore the body’s natural hormonal balance.

When to see an endocrinologist

If your general practitioner suspects that you have an endocrine-related disorder, they are likely to refer you to an endocrinologist for specialist investigation.

You may already have a diagnosis of a hormone-related disease such as diabetes that has developed complications. This is also a good reason to visit an endocrinologist who will be able to offer further guidance to help you manage the disease.

What does an endocrinologist do on the first visit?

Your first appointment will typically start with a review of your medical history and current symptoms, and you are likely to undergo tests, such as blood or urine tests, or imaging tests such as a CT or MRI scan. You may also have your heart rate and blood pressure measured.

Once your endocrinologist has the test results and a picture of your general health, they will be able to offer you a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Endocrinologist cost Australia

The cost of seeing an endocrinologist in Australia varies depending on what the appointment is for.

Depending on the length of your initial consultation, the cost may vary from between $280 for a shorter appointment to as much as $400 for a longer consultation. Depending on the fee charged, Medicare rebates may extend to approximately $231 for a long first consultation and $132 for a shorter one.

Follow up consultations are charged at approximately half to two thirds of the cost of the intitial consultation. Depending on the fee and length of follow-up consultation a Medicare rebate of between approximately $65 – $115 may apply.

You might also have to factor in the cost of tests. While X-rays and ultrasounds are generally covered by Medicare, you may have to contribute to more complex tests such as MRI and CT scans.

It’s best to check with your endocrinologist what your out-of-pocket costs will be before you attend your appointment. Note that you are also likely to need a referral from your general practitioner.

How do I find an endocrinologist?

If your endocrine-related condition is new, or if it is an issue you have lived with for a while that has become difficult to manage, it is likely that your GP will recommend one or more endocrinologists for specialist care.

Whitecoat lists qualified endocrinologists who are rated by patients just like you, making it easy for you to make a decision based on trusted reviews.

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