Understanding the Role Hormones

We often blame hormones for so many things we experience. As much as hormones may not be responsible for everything, they play a huge role in many processes in our bodies.

For instance, many women will end up having mammograms or breast ultrasounds done because they felt a lump in the breast, but some of these lumps are actually due to changes in breasts that can be caused simply by hormonal changes. This article is to help you understand the roles of different hormones which will in turn get you to better understand your body.

Role of Hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers produced in the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of many glands, whereby each produce different hormones that contribute to different bodily functions.

Here is a summary of each gland, which hormone it produces and the role of each hormone.

  1. Pituitary Gland

This gland, though small like a pea, is referred to as the “master gland” as it controls most of the hormone-secreting glands in the body and makes hormones that are responsible for growth. It is a combination of 2 glands; the anterior and posterior lobe.

The anterior lobe produces several hormones such as the Adrenocorticotropic, Endorphins, growth hormone which control secretion of hormones released by the adrenal cortex, block pain and control secretion of hormones produced by the thyroid, respectively.

The posterior gland on the other hand releases anti diuretic hormone which stimulates retention of water by the kidneys. and while the posterior stores and releases the hormones produced by the hypothalamus.

2. Pineal Gland

This gland is located in the middle of the brain and is also known as the thalamus. Its role is to produce melatonin which regulates sleep patterns.

3. Thyroid Gland

It is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the throat whose role is to produce the Triiodothyronine and Thyronine hormones which control the body’s metabolism, regulate body weight, body temperature, heart rate, cholesterol levels, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, and central and peripheral nervous systems.

4. Parathyroid Gland

This gland is located above and below the thyroid and it produces the parathyroid hormone which controls the amount of calcium in the body.

5. Thymus Gland

It is located behind the sternum and between the lungs, but it only exists until puberty, after which it is replaced by fat. This gland produces the thymosin hormone which stimulates the development of disease-fighting T-cells.

6. Adrenal Glands

These are small structures located at the top of each kidney and they release hormones; Aldosterone which regulates salt and water balance in the body, and cortisol which maintains blood sugar level, blood pressure and muscle strength as well as controlling water and salt balance, and it has anti-inflammatory action.

7. Pancreas

It produces glucagon and insulin; glucagon raises blood sugar level, while insulin lowers blood sugar level, stimulating breakdown of glycogen and fats, and controlling blood glucose, respectively.

8. Ovary

This gland is part of the female reproductive system and its role is to produce hormone oestrogen which is important in the development of sex organs and regulating menstrual cycles.

9. Testes

These organs on the other hand, are found in the male reproductive system where they produce testosterone; a crucial hormone in the development of male sex organs and other male features such as facial hair and voice change.

With a better understanding of what hormones are and what they do, you can be more aware of your body; noticing any changes that may be alarming or those that are normal.

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