This trimester, I am in Clinical Endocrinology. I have been digging deeper into the normal physiology and function of various aspects of the endocrine system. I have also been reviewing pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, and pertinent lab tests for various endocrine dysfunctions. I am exploring both conventional and natural treatments from pharmacological therapies and surgery to botanicals, nutritional supplementation, hydrotherapy, and supportive lifestyle factors.
This is my favorite class this trimester. The content is fascinating and clinically relevant. Normal endocrine function is so complex, and I truly appreciate the whirlwind of interrelated connections!
Since we have been focusing on the adrenal glands for the past couple of weeks, I have naturally been pondering a lot about maladaptive stress syndrome. It consists of four different stages of the adrenal stress response. Each stage is unique in its overall picture, physiology, and effects. It also makes sense that possible supportive treatments vary depending on the stage an individual is in (and their own unique case, of course).
I want to highlight a wonderful adrenal adaptogenic herb that I personally have experience using (especially as a student). It is Withania somnifera, which is more commonly known as ashwagandha. Adaptogenic herbs help the body resist a wide range of adverse conditions and support internal stability by improving our ability to resist dysfunctions caused by stressors all while not interfering with the body’s normal functions. In clinical endocrinology, I have learned more about when ashwagandha is clinically appropriate for a patient and when other herbs may be more appropriate. I have always enjoyed botanical medicine, and I truly enjoy getting into the nuances, mechanisms, and clinical reasoning as to why, when, and how to use specific botanicals.