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Pituitary Hormones and Functions

The pituitary is a small gland located below the brain,right at the skull base in a specific area which is medicinally referred to assella turcica or pituitary fossa. It weighs less than one gram and it visuallyresembles a bean. Sometimes it is also referred to as the master gland becauseit is in charge of regulating the secretion of all different types of hormonesinside the human body. The pituitary gland has a larger frontal region which ismedicinally referred to as adenohypophysis and a smaller posterior region whichis medicinally referred to as neurohypophysis. The pituitary stalk connects thepituitary gland to the region of the brain medicinally referred to as thehypothalamus. Between the pituitary stalk and the pituitary gland are thecrossing fibers of the optic nerves which are medicinally summed up as theoptic chiasm. Each side of the pituitary gland has its own cavernous sinus, andeach one of them has a carotid artery running through it and carrying blood tothe brain. Cavernous sinuses also have certain important nerves running throughthem, which are in charge of controlling the movement of the eyes. As alreadyexplained, the pituitary gland is located very closely to various major intracranialblood vessels and nerves and it controls the hormones, so it can be associatedwith a large number of neurological and hormonal symptoms of differentdisorders. Certain medical conditions related to the pituitary gland may leadto an increased production of different hormones inside the human body. Thereare also other disorders of the pituitary gland which may occur,but they are usually not associated with increased production of the hormones.It is only in the cases of enlarged tumors that the additional pressure on thepituitary gland may trigger a reduction or a complete absence of the productionof certain or all hormones inside the human body. The list of medicalconditions which may affect the pituitary gland includes lymphocytic hypophysitis,epidermoid tumor, Rathke’s cleft cyst, craniopharyngioma, meningioma, pituitaryapoplexy, recurrent adenomas, endocrine inactive adenomas, thyrotroph secretingadenomas, prolactinoma, Nelson’s syndrome, Cushing’s disease, acromegaly, differentsorts of pituitary adenomas and pituitary failure.

Hormones Produced by the Pituitary Gland

In order to understand the importance of the pituitary glandand the way it functions, one needs to be well informed about the role eachhormone in the human body plays. All the different functions may be seriously compromisedby a tumor on the pituitary gland. One of the hormones controlled by thepituitary gland is the follicle stimulating hormone which is in charge of thepromotion of normal functioning of the testes and the ovaries, regulating thenormal production of sperm and controlling the ovulation in both women and men.It commonly works together with the luteinizing hormone. This other type of hormoneis in charge of controlling the levels of testosterone in the testes andcontrolling the levels of estrogen in the ovaries. Vaopressin or theantidiuretic hormone is in charge of regulating the balance of all the waterinside the human body. Improper amounts of this type of hormone in the humanbody lead to the development of certain medical conditions which affect thekidneys such as the inappropriate ADH syndrome and diabetes insipidus. Anotherimportant hormone is the thyroid-stimulating hormone and it is in charge ofgoverning various vital systems and processes such as the nervous system,metabolism, growth and energy. Varied levels of this type of hormone may leadto problems such as an overactive thyroid or an underactive thyroid. Anotherimportant type of hormone is known as adrenocorticotropin. This type of hormoneis in charge of stimulating the production of another type of hormone known ascortisol or the stress hormone. This other type of hormone is commonly producedby the adrenal glands and is in charge of maintaining optimal blood pressureand proper levels of glucose in the blood. Growth hormone is one of the mostimportant hormones in the human body and it is in charge of promoting growth inchildren. If a child suffers from excessive amounts of the growth hormone, heor she commonly suffers from a medical condition known as the gigantism oracromegaly. Adult persons use this type of hormone for completely differentpurposes as it comes very handy when it comes to regulating the distribution offt and maintaining the mass of bones and muscles. Last, but not least,prolactin is a certain type of hormone which is in charge of stimulating theproduction of breast milk after the childbirth and regulating the levels of sexhormones in both women and men.

How tumors affect production of hormones?

There are two types of pituitary gland tumors and those arethe secretory and non secretory. A secretory type increases the production ofthe hormones while the other does not until it reaches certain size where itactually reduces the production of hormones. Tumors may trigger hypersecretion,hyposecretion and tumor mass effects.

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