Endocrine System Mnemonics

A collection of high yield hormone (endocrinology) mnemonics to help you remember essential clinical pearls. 

Pituitary Adenoma (Go Look For The Adenoma Please)

What is the sequence of loss of pituitary function in patients with an expanding sellar mass? The mnemonic “Go Look For The Adenoma Please” lists the first to last hormones to lose their function in the setting of an expanding pituitary adenoma. 

Growth hormone
uteinizing hormone
ollicle stimulating hormone
Thyroid stimulating hormone
drenocorticotropin hormone

Pheochromocytomas (The 10 percent Rule)

A USMLE memory aid for the clinical features of  pheochromocytoma 

  • 10% familial
  • 10% malignant
  • 10% extra-adrenal

More recent evidence points to a genetic cause of pheochromocytomas in up to 30% of patients. This mnemonic provides an understanding of the general behavior of these tumors.

Pheochromocytomas (8Ps of presentation)

  • Pallor (NOT flushing)
  • Perspiration
  • Panic
  • Pain (headache)
  • Postural dizziness
  • Panic attack
  • Palpitations
  • Paradoxical hypertension in the setting of beta-receptor blockers

Insulinoma mnemonic

Insulinoma (rule of 10s)

  • 10% malignant
  • 10% are multifocal
  • 10% are due to multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1
  • 10% are ectopic

Insulinomas are usually unifocal and benign

Causes of Addison’s disease (ADDISON)

Addison’s disease mnemonic illustrating the causes of primary adrenal insufficiency

  • Autoimmune Adrenalitis (Primary adrenal insufficiency)
  • Drugs (inhibitors of steroidogenesis, ketoconazole, mitotane)
  • Diffuse amyloid deposition (amyloidosis)
  • Infectious agents (tuberculosis, Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
  • Secondary causes (hypopituitarism)
  • Other causes ( adrenal hemorrhage)
  • Neoplasia (usually metastases from primary tumors in the lung, breast, stomach, kidney, rectosigmoid colon or melanoma)

Causes of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (6 Is)

This memory aid allows the recollection of DKA precipitating factors 

  • Infection (urinary or respiratory tract infections)
  • Insulinopenia (absolute in type 1 diabetes, relative in type 2 diabetes)
  • Infarction (silent myocardial infarction)
  • Injury (significant trauma or stress)
  • Index presentation (newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes)
  • Issues of adherence to insulin therapy

Anion Gap Metabolic Acidosis

MUDPILES is a time tested mnemonic for recalling the causes of high anion gap metabolic acidosis.

  • Methanol
  • Uremia
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Isoniazid
  • Lactic Acidosis
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Salicylates

Site of action of diuretics (COLTs Pee)

The site of action of diuretics from proximal to distal portions of the nephron can be remembered by the mnemonic, COLTs Pee.

Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (Proximal tubule)
Osmotic diuretics (Loop of Henle)
Loop diuretics (Thick ascending limb)
Thiazides (Distal Tubule)
Potassium-sparing diuretics (Collecting tubule)

Cause of Hypercalcemia (SHIFT in calcium)

A USMLE memory aid for the causes of hypercalcemia 

  • Sarcoidosis and other granulomatous diseases
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Hypervitaminosis A, and D.
  • Immobilization (increased bone resorption)
  • Familial (Familial Hypocalciuric Hypercalcemia)
  • Tumors, Thiazide diuretics, LiThium

Clinical features of Cushing’s Syndrome (MOON FACIES)

MOON FACIES is a simple mnemonic for Cushing’s syndrome

  • Menstrual disorders
  • Osteopenia or Osteoporosis
  • Obesity (Central distribution of fat)
  • Neurosis (depression or psychosis)
  • Face (Plethora, hirsutism, acne)
  • Altered muscle physiology (proximal muscle weakness)
  • Supra-Clavicular and Dorso-Cervical fat pads.
  • Infection
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Skin (Easy bruisability)

Causes of hypoglycemia, FEELING Dizzy

A mnemonic for hypoglycemia causes

  • False hypoglycemia (pseudohypoglycemia not meeting Whipple’s criteria)
  • Exogenous (insulin or insulin secretagogue)
  • Ethanol
  • Liver failure
  • Immune dysfunction (stimulating anti-insulin antibodies)
  • Neoplastic (Insulinoma or Sarcomas producing IGF-2)
  • Glandular dysfunction (Pituitary insufficiency, Adrenal insufficiency)
  • Drugs (quinolones, pentamidine, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors)

Mnemonic for MEN

This is a simple MEN syndrome mnemonic suitable for USMLE board preparation. The 3 Ps of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 1. 

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia  type 1 (PPP)

  • Pituitary adenoma
  • Pancreatic adenoma
  • Parathyroid adenoma

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2A (MPP)

  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma
  • Parathyroid adenoma

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2B (MPM)

  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma
  • Mucosal neuromas and a Marfanoid body habitus

Management of Osteoporosis (ABCDE)

  • Activity (Weight-bearing exercise)
  • Bisphosphonates
  • Calcium supplementation
  • D (vitamin D supplementation)
  • Estrogens (Menopausal Hormone Therapy)

Causes of Gynecomastia (MAKE BREAST)

The gynecomastia mnemonic is MAKE BREAST

  • Marijuana
  • Alcohol
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Estrogen excess
  • Baby (circulating maternal estrogens)
  • Receptor blockers (Ketoconazole, calcium channel blockers, H2 Blockers)
  • Elderly
  • Antineoplastic agents (alkylating agents)
  • Spironolactone
  • Tumors (adrenal or testicular)

Acute Pancreatitis (I GET SMASHED)

A simple memory device for remembering acute pancreatitis is I GET SMASHED

  • Idiopathic
  • Gallstones
  • Ethanol
  • Trauma
  • Steroids
  • Mumps, Malignancy (Pancreatic cancer)
  • Autoimmune
  • Scorpion sting
  • Hypercalcemia, Hypertriglyceridemia (Usually more than 1000mg/dL)
  • ERCP
  • Drugs (GLP-1 agonists)
Illustration of the dawn and somogyi phenomenon
Choh Hao Li

Dawn and Somogyi phenomenon mnemonic

Dawn and Somogyi phenomenon mnemonic A simple mnemonic for remembering the dawn and Somogyi phenomenon. Table of Contents A simple memory aid for dawn and

Choh Hao Li

Secondary hypertension mnemonic

Secondary hypertension mnemonic A simple mnemonic for recalling the causes of secondary hypertension is CHARPLES. It is worth noting that most of the secondary causes

Choh Hao Li

Horner syndrome mnemonic

Horner syndrome mnemonic Horner’s syndrome classically presents with anhidrosis, ptosis, miosis, and enophthalmos. The simple mnemonic, SAMPLE can be used to recall both the causes

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