Why is the pineal gland so special?
So why do we hear so much about the pituitary gland? And why is the pituitary gland called the master gland? First let us look at the work of the
pituitary gland. We know that the pituitary gland makes and stores hormones that influence other glands in the body. If things go wrong, it is usually
the pituitary gland where the problem originates. The pituitary gland and the stalk are the areas that we can clearly see on special scanning. We can
measure the hormones in the blood stream that the pituitary has made, or stored. If we can identify a shortage or over production of a hormone from
the pituitary gland we can either:
Replace the hormone that the body glands cannot make (because they have not received messages from the pituitary), or
We can give hormones that ask the pituitary gland to send out fewer hormones itself, if it has become over active.
How many hormones does the pituitary make?
Six hormones from the front (anterior) part of the gland - TSH, LH, FSH, Prolactin, Growth hormone and ACTH.
Two hormones from the back (posterior) part of the gland - ADH and Oxytocin.
What glands does the pituitary "talk" to?
First the anterior pituitary gland makes and stores the following hormones:
Thyroid stimulating (TSH) so that the thyroid gland can make thyroid hormone (T4) and tri-idothyronine (T3)
Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), so that the adrenal glands can then make cortisone.
Leutinising hormone (LH) and
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), so that the ovaries, (two glands in women) can make oestrogen and progesterone and the testes, (two glands
in men) can make testosterone
Growth hormone for growth of all the tissues of the body
Prolactin to make breast milk.
Secondly the posterior pituitary gland makes and stores the following hormones:
Oxytocin to ask the uterus (womb) to contract during childbirth.
Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) which controls how much urine is passed.
How would I know if my pituitary gland was not functioning correctly?
There are a variety of things which may happen. These may be headache, visual disturbance, feelings of being unwell, tiredness, lethargy, inability to
cope, unexpected abnormal growth, sleep disturbance, discharge from the nipples, impotence, absence or disturbance of the menstrual cycle, skin and
hair changes. The expression “we are slaves to our hormones” is one that people with an imbalance of the endocrine system can relate to very well,
because usually more than one physical sign or symptom (feeling) may be found. Not everyone of course will get all these signs as symptoms, and some
may be difficult to define. These signs and symptoms may occur because of the target organs not working effectively and not be the fault of the
pituitary gland itself. Your endocrinologist (hormone specialist), after careful questioning of your symptoms, and a check for any body changes, may
request special tests to diagnose if you have a problem with any part of your endocrine system.
edit on 2-8-2011 by Samuelis because: (no