Your Hormones

Hormones are chemicals circulating in your blood stream.  Along your blood, they get spread in your body for carrying signals or messages to different organs of your body. The name ‘hormone’ has been derived from the Greek word ‘hormao’, which means “excite”.

Thus, the hormones are referred to the fact that they excite or stimulate  specific organ(s) of your body.  And, that organ is called the ‘target gland’. Hormones are generated in the endocrine glands and moved from the gland cells into the blood stream directly through that gland.

Usually, the higher the quantity of hormone in your blood, the greater the impact on the target. Hormones produced by the pituitary gland The two parts of the pituitary gland generate different hormones that make effect on different target cells or glands. The Anterior pituitary

The Posterior pituitary

  • Oxytocin
  • Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH)

The  pituitary hormones and their functions and targets shown in a table:

Hormone Target(s)   Function
LH & FSH  Ovaries (Females) Testes (Males) Both these hormones control reproductive operations and sexual traits. In Males – these two hormones stimulate the testes for producing testosterone and sperm; in Females – these two hormones stimulate the ovaries for producing estrogen and progesterone. Both LH and FSH, as a group, are called as gonadotropins. In Males, the LH is also known as the Interstitial Cell Stimulating Hormone (ICSH).
PRL Breasts PRL helps stimulate the breasts for producing milk. This hormone is discharged in good quantity during breastfeeding and pregnancy. The hormone, even otherwise, is there all the time in both females and males.
ACTH Adrenals Fuels the adrenal gland for producing another hormone known as Cortisol. ACTH is also called Corticotrophin.
TSH Thyroid Excites the thyroid gland for releasing its own hormone, known as Thyroxine. TSH is also called Thyrotrophin.
GH All body cells As the name suggests, the hormone is meant to stimulate growth and repairing in the body system. Researchers are trying to discover the GH functions in adult life.
MSH The precise role of this hormone in humans is still unknown.
 Oxytocin Uterus Breasts Oxytocin influences uterine contractions at the time of pregnancy and the birth of a baby. Subsequently, helps in  releasing breast milk.
ADH Kidneys ADH influences water retention in the kidneys and, thus, controls the mineral levels and the blood fluid in the body. The hormone is also called Argenine Vasopressin (AVP) or Vasopressin.

The hormonal production control is observed constantly and kept in harmony by means of feedback loops.

Hormones generated by the Hypothalamus

The hormonal discharge from the anterior pituitary is managed by the hormonal generation by the hypothalamus. Though there are many such different hormones, they may be divided into two major types:

  • Those hormones that inform the pituitary gland to activate hormone production – meaning to release a hormone.
  • Those hormones that inform the pituitary gland to switch off hormone production – meaning to inhibit hormone production.

The hormones discharged by the posterior pituitary gland are generated in the hypothalamus and then moved down the tube located in the pituitary stalk between the pituitary and the hypothalamus. They are afterwards discharged into the bloodstream.

Hormones produced by the other body glands

In all, almost above 200 hormones/hormone-like materials are discovered in the body. Apart from the hormones mentioned in the above table, the pituitary hormones control five of these important hormones, listed below in the table:

Hormone Organ Function
Thyroxine Thyroid This hormone controls many functions in the body, like heart rate, metabolism and body temperature. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining the calcium metabolism in the body.
Cortisol Adrenals  Cortisol plays a role in many functions. It not only helps in promoting normal metabolism and maintaining blood sugar levels, but also keeps a check on the blood pressure. Apart from acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, it also helps in providing resistance to stress. It also plays an important role in regulating fluid balance in your body.
Progesterone Ovaries Progesterone helps in advancing the changes in your uterus that happen in anticipation of the fertilized egg implantation. The hormone also helps in preparing the breasts for production of milk.
Estrogens Ovaries Estrogens help in facilitating growth of sex organs, their tissues and other such tissues relating to the reproductive system. Estrogen is also instrumental in strengthening bones and acts as a protective cover on the heart.
Testosterone Testes Testosterone plays an important role in the maintenance of the masculine body characteristics, such as hair growth on your body and the face, besides muscle development. Testosterone is necessary for the sperm production and maintaining the strength of your bones.
CategoryHormones, Infertility, IVF
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