While fact-checking a manuscript for a previous edition of FP Essentials, I learned that the Endocrine Society, the international professional organization, originally was called the Association for the Study of Internal Secretions.1 Hormones, of course, are internal secretions. They are made by glands and act locally within the body. A brief internet search shows the word “hormone” was first used in the early 20th century, and the term “internal secretions” was far more common in the medical literature through the 1930s.
The word hormone is derived from Greek, and the early scientists who applied the term studied the effects of these molecules rather than their origins.2 Likewise, today medical students learn that hormones are the messengers of the human body, carrying metabolic information that controls essentially every body system. A delicate system of positive and negative feedback loops is required to keep these molecules in balance.
We see many endocrine conditions on a daily basis in family medicine, such as diabetes and thyroid disease. This edition addresses hormone therapy for common issues as well as for conditions we don’t see as often. Section One covers testosterone replacement therapy for male hypogonadism. Section Two discusses the evidence supporting use of menopausal hormone therapy for management of menopausal symptoms. This is an area in which practice and evidence have changed significantly in the past two decades. Section Three examines the evidence for use of hormone therapies for antiaging purposes, a topic that many patients have questions about. Finally, Section Four gives an overview of gender-affirming hormone therapy for transgender and gender-diverse patients.
I hope you are able to carry the information you learn in this edition forward into your practice.
Kate Rowland, MD, FAAFP, Associate Medical Editor
Vice Chair of Education and Associate Professor,
Department of Family Medicine
Rush University, Chicago, Illinois