Pituitary Gland, a main gland of our body, controls many other glands including the ovaries, thyroid and adrenal glands. Located at the base of the brain (near hypothalamus which is another part of the brain) it is as small as a pea. This gland consists of two main parts:
- Anterior Pituitary – The part at the front of the pituitary gland
- Posterior Pituitary – The part at the back of the pituitary gland
Both these parts exude different hormones and impact different parts of the body. Apart from these, pituitary gland also includes an intermediate part that releases a single hormone. It is basically the stalk via which this gland is connected to hypothalamus.
Let us now learn as to how the pituitary gland works:
Our body undergoes constant changes. The heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure keep changing based on your surroundings. There are systems in your body that continually keep a check on these changes and also respond to these changes to aid the body to reinstate the balance. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus are among the systems that help in this process. These are a part of various circuits and loops. The glands produce hormones that complete the loops by travelling between them in the bloodstream.
Hypothalamus gets information regarding basic functions of various organs in the body from different sources. It releases hormones to control and communicate with the pituitary gland which in turn controls the other glands. The hormones released by hypothalamus travel to the pituitary gland and stimulate it to produce one or more of its hormone. These hormones are then released into the bloodstream and are taken to other endocrine glands like the thyroid gland. These hormones then act as a signal to the endocrine glands to release their hormones. These local hormones help in regulating your body.
The anterior pituitary produces at least seven different hormones whereas the posterior pituitary produces only two hormones. The hormones produced by both these help in regulating various bodily activities.
Pituitary gland may create certain disorders either when it is too active or when it is not active at all. The health issues you may face when this gland produces more than the required amount of hormones include the cushing’s syndrome, acromegaly and prolactinoma. The problems that may occur in cases where this gland is unable to produce enough hormones include hypopituitarism, diabetes insipidus, adult growth hormone deficiency, pituitary tumour and hypothalamus tumour or injury.