I interviewed Dr. Vivien Lim who is an Endocrinologist in private practice on your benefit. What exactly does she do, and why can somebody like her help you in your sexual health?
1) What is an Endocrinologist?
It is rather a mouthful, endocrinology, and a rare patient who actually knows the scope of the specialty. It is actually the specialisation of the glands and the hormones in the body.
Hence, an endocrinologist specialises in hormones and their functions and manages diseases of the various glands in the body. Now this sounds rather uninteresting and also non-specific. However, this includes very common diseases such as diabetes, thyroid, osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and female and male hormonal disorders. Under its wing also comes calcium and vitamin D disorders and diseases of the adrenal and pituitary glands.
2) Why do you like what you do?
Why do I like endocrinology: the sheer variety of the diseases that you get to see. The glands in the body includes the pituitary glands, the thyroid all the way to the gonads which produce the male and female hormones.
As you can see above, that is rather a long list of diseases that I treat above. Now that list is by no means exhaustive. It sure is never boring! And what more can one ask for from life than to enjoy your job!
3) Why did you go into private practice?
I wanted total patient care with no bureaucracy and a hundred percent autonomy. Starting my own endocrinology centre afforded me the opportunity to achieve this.
3) What are the kind of patients you usually work with?
The bread and butter of endocrinology practice is diabetes, thyroid, osteoporosis and obesity. However, as endocrinology is also the specialisation in hormones, I am also consulted on basically any hormonal issues and this includes male and female hormonal disorders.
Both males and females might consult me for any of the hormonal disorders. Specifically, males may also consult me for male hormone deficiency presenting as a lack of secondary sexual characteristics or even presentation with a low-trauma fracture, which is the hallmark of osteoporosis. Females may consult me for menstrual disturbances or signs of an excess of male hormones such as male pattern baldness or hirsutism (growth of hair in places which are thought to be characteristically male e.g. facial hair).
4) Should a man or woman going through low sexual drive see you then? What kind of tests would they be put through and how much might that cost?
A low sexual drive is multifactorial in many instances. This could also involve hormonal disorders/disturbances such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, deficient male or female hormones of any cause, to name but a few. And these disorders should be excluded. It is difficult to name the specific tests that will have to be carried out for the patient.
An endocrine consult would involve a history taking and physical examination of the patient. The endocrinologist would aim to discover if there are any signs and symptoms of endocrinological disorders that the patient might be suffering from and customise the investigations to the particular patient.
5) Should a woman going through menopause see you?
Menopause is a natural part of life and comes with it an increased risk of various health conditions such as osteoporosis. It affects different women differently. The best advice would be for all women undergoing menopause to go through an appropriate health screening to pick up common issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Selected women should also undergo a bone mineral density assessment especially if they have risk factors for osteoporosis.
About Dr. Vivien Lim
Dr Vivien Lim graduated from the National University of Singapore Medical School in 1998 After gaining both an MRCP (UK) and a Masters in Internal Medicine in Singapore, she embarked on endocrinology training in Singapore and was accredited as a Specialist in Endocrinology in 2008. After she completed her training, she was awarded the Health Manpower Development Plan Scholarship by the Ministry of Health to gain wider experience in complex cases of endocrinology in the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA. While there, she also obtained certification as a clinical densitometrist with the International Society of Clinical Densitometry.
Upon her return, she worked as a consultant in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and the Diabetes Centre where she ran clinics in general endocrinology as well as diabetes, bone and calcium clinics and adrenal/pituitary clinics in addition to providing thyroid and fine needle aspiration cytology services. She set up the adrenal and osteoporosis service and also a multi-disciplinary pituitary conference in the hospital. Dr Lim also held the post of programme director of the endocrine residency programme in KTPH.
She was appointed as a Senior Lecturer to the National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. She has also been elected to and currently holds the position of Vice-President of the Endocrine Metabolic Society of Singapore and executive committee member of the Osteoporosis Society of Singapore.
Dr Lim has a passion for humanitarian causes and is the Peer Coordinator of Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres) in Singapore. She has been active in past medical missions to places such as Kenya, during the Tsunami in 2005 in Sri Lanka and her latest mission was during Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 in the Philippines. She was awarded the Healthcare Humanity Award in 2014, honouring healthcare workers who are inspirational role models exemplifying the values of courage, extraordinary dedication, selflessness, steadfastness in ethics, compassion and humanity in going the extra mile to offer care and comfort to the sick and infirm.
Her Contact Details:
Dr. Vivien Lim
Specialist in Endocrinology
MBBS (S’pore), MRCP (UK), MMed (Int Med)(S’pore), FAMS (Endocrinology)
Vivien Lim Endocrinology Specialist Centre
Gleneagles Medical Centre
6 Napier Road, #03-17/18, Singapore 258499
Tel: (65) 6471 1928
Monday- Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat: 9 a.m. -1 p.m.
Note: I have not vested interest or benefit from interviewing Dr. Vivien Lim. I am doing so in the pure intention to educate and help more people.