What Does the Pituitary Gland Do?
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain, located just behind the bridge of the nose and above the hypothalamus. It sits in a special spot called the sella turcica and is a key part of your endocrine system.
Although it’s small—just about half an inch in diameter—it’s powerful. The pituitary gland controls the function and hormone output of many other glands. For this reason, it’s sometimes called the “master gland” of the endocrine system.
The pituitary gland works by signaling other glands to produce hormones that control a wide range of bodily functions including reproduction, growth, blood pressure and metabolism.
Your Pituitary Gland Makes Hormones
The pituitary gland is divided into two main sections: the anterior pituitary and the posterior pituitary. These are also called the front and back lobes.
The anterior or front lobe of your pituitary gland makes and releases a range of hormones, including:
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which plays a role in how your body manages stress
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates sperm production in males and plays a key role in egg development in females
- Growth hormone (GH), which helps children grow taller and helps adults maintain healthy muscles and bones
- Luteinizing hormone (LH), which helps control the function of ovaries and testes
- Prolactin, which stimulates milk production in females
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) which regulates the thyroid gland
The posterior or back lobe of your pituitary gland makes an antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which regulates the water balance and sodium levels in your body. It also makes oxytocin, which helps labor progress during childbirth.
Your Pituitary Gland Is Like Your Body’s Thermostat
In your home, the thermostat performs constant temperature checks and adjusts the temperature to make sure the environment is always comfortable. In your body, the pituitary gland does something similar. It monitors your bodily functions and makes minor adjustments to hormone levels in order to keep your body functioning optimally.
Schedule an Appointment to Talk About Pituitary Gland Issues
When a pituitary imbalance occurs, it can have a profound effect. Fortunately, pituitary imbalance is treatable with medications to replace the pituitary hormones you’re missing. To learn more, talk with one of our medical professionals today. Call us at 480-718-9960 or schedule an appointment.