The Pituitary Gland: What is it and what does it do?

The Pituitary Gland: What is it and What Does it Do?

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There are numerous hormones in the body and each serve a different purpose. These little messengers control various bodily functions which means that without them, your body will not function properly. This is why people who experience hormonal imbalance immediately undergo treatments such as androgen replacement therapy in Florida to help replace the hormones that your body cannot produce or are produced but in small amounts only.

Several hormones in the body are controlled by the pituitary gland, which is a small gland that’s part of the endocrine system. It’s located at the base of the brain, between the eyes, near the hypothalamus.

The pituitary gland is also considered the ‘master endocrine gland’. However, it’s still under the control of the hypothalamus. 

Parts of the pituitary gland

The human pituitary gland has two parts: the anterior pituitary and the posterior pituitary. Both of these parts release different hormones which affect the body differently.

The anterior pituitary releases these hormones:

  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone – This hormone is released when a person experiences something stressful. It also increases the release of cortisol.
  • Growth hormone – This encourages growth, as well as cell reproduction and growth.
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone – This hormone prompts the production of thyroxine in the thyroid gland.
  • Prolactin – This is the hormone that allows women to produce milk.
  • Luteinizing hormone – For women, this triggers the release of eggs from the ovaries or the process of ovulation; in males, it stimulates testosterone.
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone – This hormone controls growth and development. In addition, this is also responsible for reproductive processes and puberty.

Meanwhile, the posterior pituitary releases these hormones:

  • Oxytocin – Since the posterior pituitary is extension of the hypothalamus, oxytocin is released from the hypothalamus. This is essential for social bonding and sexual reproduction. It also plays a big role in a woman’s body during and after she bears a child. In childbirth, oxytocin is used as a medication to prompt contractions and start or increase the speed of labor.
  • Antidiuretic hormone – This hormone increases blood pressure, as well as regulate water, salt, and glucose in the blood. It is also responsible for the absorption of water in the kidneys.

In summary, the hormones released and controlled by the pituitary gland is what regulates many body processes. Without the pituitary gland, people will not be able to grow or even reproduce. 

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Diseases of the Pituitary Gland

Like other parts of your body, the pituitary gland is susceptible to diseases. Here are some of the health complications that you might encounter:

  • Hyperpituitarism and hypopituitarism – The former refers to the increased secretion of hormones in the pituitary gland. On the other hand, the latter refers to the decreased production of hormones.
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Pituitary adenomas – Tumors that are not cancerous
  • Gigantism and arcomegaly – Conditions where the gland produces an excess of growth hormones in children and adults, respectively.
  • Hypothyroidism – This is a disease wherein the thyroid gland is not able to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone.
  • Panhypopituitarism – A condition wherein there is a decrease in the production of one or more hormones that are usually produced in the pituitary gland.

Even though the pituitary gland is only a small part of the brain, it helps regulate many of the body’s processes. As a result, your body is healthy and working properly.

4 thoughts on “The Pituitary Gland: What is it and what does it do?”

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  4. Star

    Is any of this treatment or hormone replacement covered by insurance?

    6 months ago

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