What do all the glands do?

Endocrine Disorder Tests

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Your endocrine glands are responsible for making the hormones your body needs and regulating how they work. These glands include your thyroid gland, pituitary gland and adrenal glands. Endocrine disorders happen when your endocrine glands produce too many – or not enough – of the hormones that keep your body functioning correctly. Endocrine tests can help us diagnose hormonal disorders and plan the best course of treatment. Mercy physicians check for endocrine disorders using a variety of tests to measure hormone levels.

Types of Endocrine Tests

We know it can be alarming to learn that you have an endocrine disorder, but most can be treated with medications, surgery or other approaches. Any time you have questions or concerns about your hormonal health, your Mercy physicians are ready to help. Mercy offers the following types of tests to diagnose endocrine disorders.

Cortisol Blood Test

The hormone cortisol helps your body handle physical stress from illness, injury or another cause. Both your pituitary glands and adrenal glands help produce cortisol. Mercy doctors use a cortisol blood test to measure the amount of cortisol in your blood and help diagnose potential problems with these glands.

Thyroid Gland Tests

We use thyroid gland tests to check for thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

  • Thyroid hormone testing – your doctor may recommend thyroid hormone blood tests to measure the number of hormones produced by your thyroid gland, including thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4) and other hormones as needed, which help regulate your metabolism, or how your body uses energy.
  • Thyroid scan – your thyroid gland absorbs iodine. As a result, we can perform a thyroid scan using a small amount of radioactive iodine and a special camera to diagnose the cause of excess thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). It can also be used after thyroid cancer treatment to look for the spread of cancer.
  • Thyroid/parathyroid ultrasound – thyroid and parathyroid ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to check your thyroid gland and parathyroid glands for anything unusual, such as enlarged areas or nodules.
  • Thyroid nodule biopsy – during a thyroid biopsy, your physician removes a small sample of tissue from your thyroid glands and examines it under a microscope to look for anything abnormal. In many cases, we can remove the tissue using a very thin needle, so no incision is needed.

Prolactin Test

Prolactin is a hormone made by your pituitary gland that helps regulate reproductive functions in both women and men. Prolactin disorders can lead to infertility, erectile dysfunction and other issues. If you have symptoms of a prolactin disorder, your doctor may order a prolactin blood test to check your hormone levels.