Endocrine Glands

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Endocrine glands are glands of the endocrine system that secretes their products, hormones, directly into the blood stream. The major glands of the endocrine system and their actions are given below::


Adrenal gland


This gland helps to control blood sugar and also helps your body do the following:


  • Promote proper cardiovascular function
  • Properly utilize carbohydrates and fats
  • Helps distribute stored fat
  • Promotes healthy gastrointestinal functions


The hypothalamus is in control of pituitary hormones by releasing the following types of hormones:


  • Thyrotrophic-releasing hormone
  • Growth hormone-releasing hormone
  • Corticotrophin-releasing hormone
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone

Found in women, this gland produces both estrogen and progesterone, which promote the development of breasts. They also help a woman maintain healthy menstrual periods.



The main function of the pancreas is to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It is a large gland located behind the stomach.

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body doesn’t use insulin properly (called insulin resistance).




This gland is vital to proper bone development because it helps control both calcium and phosphorous levels in the body. The parathyroid gland is actually a group of four small glands located behind the thyroid gland.


Pineal gland


The pineal gland releases melatonin, which helps the body recognize when it is time to go to sleep.



Pituitary gland


This gland is often referred to as the “master gland.” It greatly influences other organs in the body, and its function is vital to the overall well-being of a person. The pituitary gland produces several hormones. In fact, the front part of it, commonly called the anterior pituitary, produces the following types of hormones:



  • Growth hormone: This hormone promotes growth in childhood. For adults, it helps to maintain healthy muscle and bone mass.
  • Prolactin: In women, it stimulates milk production. In males, low levels are linked to sexual problems; however, most males make no use of the hormone.
  • Adrenocorticotropic: This hormone promotes the production of cortisol, which helps to reduce stress, maintain healthy blood pressure and more.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone: Just as the name implies, this hormone helps to regulate the body’s thyroid, which is crucial in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
  • Luteinizing hormone: In women, this hormone regulates estrogen. In men, it regulates testosterone.
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone: Found in both men and women. It stimulates the releasing of eggs in women and helps ensure the normal function of sperm production in men.

The back part of the pituitary gland is called the posterior pituitary. It produces the following two hormones:

  • Oxytocin: This hormone causes pregnant women to start having contractions at the appropriate time and also promotes milk flow in nursing mothers.
  • Antidiuretic hormone: Commonly referred to as vasopressin, this hormone helps to regulate water balance in the body.

When the pituitary gland doesn’t operate in a healthy manner, this can lead to pituitary disorders.


Found in men, this gland produces testosterone, which promotes the growth of the penis as a male gets older as well as facial and body hair. It also deepens the voice of a male at a certain age. Other functions of testosterone include:

  • Maintaining sex drive
  • Promoting production of sperm
  • Maintaining healthy levels of muscle and bone mass




This gland secretes hormones that are commonly referred to as humoral factors and are important during puberty. The role of these hormones is to make sure a person develops a healthy immune system.

Found in both women and men, the thyroid controls a person’s metabolism. It is located in the front of the neck.
This gland secretes hormones that govern many of the functions in your body, such as the way the body uses energy, consumes oxygen and produces heat. Thyroid disorders typically occur when this gland releases too many or too few hormones. An overactive or underactive thyroid can lead to a wide range of health problems.