According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), your endocrine system is made up of eight major glands throughout your body. These glands produce hormones that act as chemical messengers. Hormones play a major role in growth and development, sexual function and reproduction. They also have an impact on your breathing, metabolism, digestion, blood circulation and body temperature. Several endocrine disorders can cause a wide variety of symptoms.
The NIH says the most prevalent endocrine disorder is diabetes.
Symptoms of diabetes can vary, but they often include excessive hunger and thirst, fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, frequent gum or skin infections and infections of the vagina or bladder.
Hyperthyroidism & Hypothyroidism
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that in 2005 more than 16 percent of women were diagnosed with an endocrine disorder of the thyroid as were 3.4 percent of men.
The NIH says early symptoms of hypothyroidism include joint or muscle pain, fatigue and weakness, constipation, depression, unintentional weight gain and increased sensitivity to cold.
Some of the signs of hyperthyroidism are frequent bowel movements, increased appetite, sweating, nervousness, problems concentrating, irregular menstrual periods in women and weight loss.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder among premenopausal women. Health and Human Services says approximately 1 in 10 women of childbearing age has PCOS. This condition may increase the chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. PCOS may result in acne, a loss of scalp hair but growth of facial or body hair. Women with PCOS may experience problems with getting pregnant.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
According to the Mayo Clinic, congenital adrenal hyperplasia is an endocrine disorder that disrupts normal growth and development in children. Symptoms in infants include unclear genitalia in females and an enlarged penis in males. Older children may experience premature puberty and accelerated growth throughout childhood, but are ultimately shorter than average.
Cushing’s syndrome is an endocrine disorder of the adrenal glands. It develops when your body is exposed to elevated levels of the hormone cortisol for an extended period. Common symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include weight gain, weak muscles, skin that bruises easily, acne, headaches and bone loss.