The pituitary gland is sometimes called the "master" gland of the endocrine system. This is because it controls the functions of many of the other endocrine glands. The pituitary gland is no larger than a pea, and is located at the base of the brain. The gland is attached to the hypothalamus by nerve fibers and blood vessels. The pituitary gland itself has 2 lobes:
Each lobe of the pituitary gland makes certain hormones.
GH (growth hormone, which influences growth during childhood)
Prolactin, to stimulate milk production in the female breast
ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), which regulates the adrenal glands
TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), which regulates the thyroid gland
FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), which regulates the ovaries and testes
LH (luteinizing hormone), which regulates the ovaries or testes
ADH (antidiuretic hormone). This, is actually made in the hypothalamus and stored in the pituitary gland. It increases absorption of water by the kidneys. It also increases blood pressure.
Oxytocin. This contracts the uterus during childbirth and stimulates the release of milk during breastfeeding. Oxytocin also plays a role in bonding and trust, especially between parents and children.
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