The endocrine system

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The endocrine system is where hormone production takes place. Certain organs secrete hormones into the bloodstream, which then travel throughout the body. They act as chemical messengers, triggering changes in tissues that regulate many bodily processes such as digestion, reproduction and pregnancy.

  • Hypothalamus: Links the nervous system to the endocrine system

  • Pituitary gland: Sometimes called the ‘master gland’ as it controls the function of other endocrine glands

  • Thyroid gland: Secretes hormones that control growth and metabolic rate. Undiagnosed thyroid disorders can cause fertility difficulties

  • Parathyroid glands: Attached to the thyroid and control calcium levels in the blood and bones

  • Adrenal glands: Produce hormones responsible for the ‘flight or fight’ response, help to regulate blood pressure and metabolism, and release small amounts of oestrogen and testosterone

  • Pancreas: Makes insulin and glucagon, which control blood glucose levels

  • Testes: Secrete testosterone, which is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics and maintains a man’s libido (sex drive)

  • Ovaries: Produce two hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which regulate the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and birth


Juliana Kassianos