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What are the organs of endocrine system: What Is It, Functions, Organs & Conditions

What Is It, Functions, Organs & Conditions

The endocrine system is a network of glands and organs located throughout the body. It’s similar to the nervous system in that it plays a vital role in controlling and regulating many of the body’s functions.

However, while the nervous system uses nerve impulses and neurotransmitters for communication, the endocrine system uses chemical messengers called hormones.

Keep reading to discover more about the endocrine system, what it does, and the hormones it produces.

The endocrine system is responsible for regulating a range of bodily functions through the release of hormones.

Hormones are secreted by the glands of the endocrine system, traveling through the bloodstream to various organs and tissues in the body. The hormones then tell these organs and tissues what to do or how to function.

Some examples of bodily functions that are controlled by the endocrine system include:

  • metabolism
  • growth and development
  • sexual function and reproduction
  • heart rate
  • blood pressure
  • appetite
  • sleeping and waking cycles
  • body temperature

What is a gland?

A gland is an organ that creates and releases substances that the body needs to function. There are two types of glands:

  • endocrine glands, which release hormones directly into the bloodstream
  • exocrine glands, like lymph nodes and sweat glands, which are not part of the endocrine system

The glands of the endocrine system are where hormones are produced, stored, and released. Each gland produces one or more hormones, which go on to target specific organs and tissues in the body.

The glands of the endocrine system include the:

  • Hypothalamus. While some people don’t consider it a gland, the hypothalamus produces multiple hormones that control the pituitary gland. It’s also involved in regulating many functions, including sleep-wake cycles, body temperature, and appetite. It can also regulate the function of other endocrine glands.
  • Pituitary. The pituitary gland is located below the hypothalamus. The hormones it produces affect growth and reproduction. They can also control the function of other endocrine glands.
  • Pineal. This gland is found in the middle of your brain. It’s important for your sleep-wake cycles.
  • Thyroid. The thyroid gland is located in the front part of your neck. It’s very important for metabolism.
  • Parathyroid. Also located in the front of your neck, the parathyroid gland is important for maintaining control of calcium levels in your bones and blood.
  • Thymus. Located in the upper torso, the thymus is active until puberty and produces hormones that are important for the development of a type of white blood cell called a T cell.
  • Adrenal. One adrenal gland can be found on top of each kidney. These glands produce hormones that are important for regulating functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, and stress response.
  • Pancreas. The pancreas is located in your abdomen behind your stomach. Its endocrine function involves controlling blood sugar levels.

Some endocrine glands also have non-endocrine functions. For example, the ovaries and testes produce hormones, but they also have the non-endocrine function of producing eggs and sperm, respectively.

Hormones are the chemicals the endocrine system uses to send messages to organs and tissue throughout the body. Once released into the bloodstream, hormones travel to their target organ or tissue, which has receptors that recognize and react to the hormone.

Below are some examples of hormones that are produced by the endocrine system.

HormoneSecreting gland(s)Function
adrenalineadrenalincreases blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism in reaction to stress
aldosteroneadrenalcontrols the body’s salt and water balance
cortisoladrenalplays a role in stress response
dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S)adrenalaids in production of body odor and growth of body hair during puberty
estrogenovaryworks to regulate the menstrual cycle, maintain pregnancy, and develop female sex characteristics; aids in sperm production
follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)pituitarycontrols the production of eggs and sperm
glucagonpancreashelps increase levels of blood glucose (blood sugar)
insulinpancreashelps reduce your blood glucose levels
luteinizing hormone (LH)pituitarycontrols estrogen and testosterone production as well as ovulation
melatoninpinealcontrols sleep-wake cycles
oxytocinpituitaryhelps with lactation, childbirth, and mother-child bonding
parathyroid hormoneparathyroidcontrols calcium levels in bones and blood
progesteroneovaryhelps prepare the body for pregnancy when an egg is fertilized
prolactinpituitarypromotes breast-milk production
testosteroneovary, teste, adrenalcontributes to sex drive and body density in males and females as well as development of male sex characteristics
thyroid hormonethyroidhelps control several body functions, including the rate of metabolism and energy levels

Explore the interactive 3-D diagram below to learn more about the endocrine system.

Sometimes, hormone levels can be too high or too low. When this happens, it can have a number of effects on your health. The signs and symptoms depend on the hormone that’s out of balance.

Here’s a look at some conditions that can affect the endocrine system and alter your hormone levels.


Hyperthyroidism happens when your thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormone than necessary. This can be caused by a range of things, including autoimmune conditions.

Some common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • fatigue
  • nervousness
  • weight loss
  • diarrhea
  • issues tolerating heat
  • fast heart rate
  • trouble sleeping

Treatment depends on how severe the condition is, as well as its underlying cause. Options include medications, radioiodine therapy, or surgery.

Graves‘ disease is an autoimmune disorder and a common form of hyperthyroidism. In people with Graves‘ disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid, which causes it to produce more thyroid hormone than usual.


Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Similar to hyperthyroidism, it has many potential causes.

Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • constipation
  • issues tolerating the cold
  • dry skin and hair
  • slow heart rate
  • irregular periods
  • fertility issues

Treatment for hypothyroidism involves supplementing your thyroid hormone with medication.

Cushing syndrome

Cushing syndrome happens due to high levels of the hormone cortisol.

Common symptoms of Cushing syndrome include:

  • weight gain
  • fatty deposits in the face, midsection, or shoulders
  • stretch marks, particularly on the arms, thighs, and abdomen
  • slow healing of cuts, scrapes, and insect bites
  • thin skin that bruises easily
  • irregular periods
  • decreased sex drive and fertility in males

Treatment depends on the cause of the condition and can include medications, radiation therapy, or surgery.

Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease happens when your adrenal glands don’t produce enough cortisol or aldosterone. Some symptoms of Addison’s disease include:

  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain
  • low blood sugar
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • irritability
  • a craving for salt or salty foods
  • irregular periods

Treatment for Addison’s disease involves taking medications that help replace the hormones your body isn’t producing enough of.


Diabetes refers to a condition in which your blood sugar levels aren’t regulated within a certain range.

People with diabetes have too much glucose in their blood (high blood sugar). There are two types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Some common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • fatigue
  • increased hunger or thirst
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • irritability
  • frequent infections

Treatment for diabetes can include blood sugar monitoring, insulin therapy, and medications. Lifestyle changes, such as getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet, can also help.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

This common condition is caused by unbalanced reproductive hormones in people with ovaries, which can create issues in the ovaries. Living with PCOS can mean that an egg may not be released every month, or may not develop as it should when it is released.

Some of the common symptoms of PCOS are:

  • irregular periods
  • fertility issues
  • cysts that form on the ovaries
  • acne
  • hirsutism, which is an unusual amount of hair growth on the face or chin
  • thinning hair
  • weight gain
  • skin tags

Treatment for PCOS focuses on easing the symptoms. Treatments include medications, like birth control and metformin, and lifestyle changes, such as focusing on nutrition and trying to reach a moderate weight if your doctor has recommended it.


A common condition, especially in older males and occasionally in females, hypogonadism is caused by a lowered production of the sex hormone testosterone. This can lead to lowered libido, as well as a variety of other symptoms, such as:

  • erectile dysfunction in people with a penis
  • reduced energy
  • reduced muscle mass
  • depressed mood
  • increased irritability

Treatment for hypogonadism focuses on improved testosterone levels. Testosterone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes (such as working toward a moderate weight if your doctor has recommended it) are two popular methods.


Osteoporosis is an abnormal loss of bone mass and changes in bone tissue. It can be caused by a variety of issues, but two common causes are lowered estrogen levels in people with ovaries and lowered testosterone levels in people with testicles. These lowered hormone levels can be caused by age, as well as other diseases.

Osteoporosis doesn‘t always cause obvious symptoms. But some of the more common symptoms are bone fractures and injuries related to minor falls, lifting, and even coughing.

Treatment for osteoporosis focuses on slowing or stopping bone loss. Proper nutrition, exercise, and medications are three of the most common treatments.


This rare disease is caused when the body makes too much growth hormone, which is mainly produced in the pituitary gland. Mostly diagnosed in middle-aged adults, it can cause organs, bones, cartilage, organs, and certain tissues to grow in size.

The common symptoms of acromegaly include:

  • swollen nose
  • swollen ears
  • swollen hands and feet
  • joint aches
  • a deeper voice than usual
  • an increase in sweating and body odor

Treatment for acromegaly includes medications, radiation therapy, and surgery.

The endocrine system is a complex collection of glands and organs that helps regulate various bodily functions. This is accomplished through the release of hormones, or chemical messengers, produced by the endocrine system.

Endocrine Tissue

Production and release of hormones

The endocrine tissue is a complex of various glands that produce hormones involved in bodily processes such as metabolic processes, water and electrolyte balance, maturation, growth and reproduction. Endocrine tissue includes the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pineal gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal gland, gonads and pancreas. Hormones are mostly distributed via the bloodstream. In order for the hormones to ultimately act on the target organ, the target organs each have specific receptors. Some hormones act paracrine in the immediate vicinity or within the secreting gland, others unfold their effect autocrine by direct feedback to the hormone-producing gland.

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the coordinating unit

The central coordinating unit of the organizational units (regulatory circuits) of the endocrine system is located in the hypothalamus. In the hypothalamus, the production of control and effector hormones takes place, whereby the control hormones are further subdivided into releasing and inhibiting hormones. These hormones include: Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), Corticoliberin (CRH), Gonadoliberin (GnRH), Somatoliberin (GHRH), Somatostatin (GHIH), Prolactin-releasing hormone (PRH), Dopamine (PIH), Thyroliberin (TRH).

Pituitary gland

regulated release of hormones from the hypothalamus

The pituitary gland located near the hypothalamus and is composed of the fundamentally different adenohypophysis (anterior pituitary) and neurohypophysis (posterior pituitary). In the adenohypophysis, the release of glandular hormones (ACTH, TSH, FSH and prolactin) and glandular hormones (growth hormones), which are previously produced in the hypothalamus, is regulated.  This hormone release is regulated by releasing hormones (liberins) and inhibiting hormones (statins). The neurohypophysis is the storage site for the hormones oxytocin and ADH produced in the hypothalamus and regulates the release of these hormones into the bloodstream as required.

Pineal gland

light-sensitive hormone secretion

The pineal gland is primarily not a gland, but a hormone-producing light-sensing organ that is involved in the sympathetic nervous system and receives information about brightness from the retina via photoreceptor cells. Depending on the light impulse, the pineal gland secretes melatonin and thus affects the sleep-wake rhythm and other time-dependent rhythms.

Thyroid and parathyroid gland

growth promotion, intervention in metabolism and regulation of calcium levels

The thyroid gland (glandula thyroidea) is a butterfly-shaped organ located just anterior to the trachea below the larynx, with the four parathyroid glands located posteriorly. The thyroid gland absorbs iodine from the blood and uses it to produce the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and tetraiodothyronine (T3), which are stored and released when needed. Furthermore, the thyroid gland is responsible for calcitonin production, which promotes calcium incorporation into the bones as well as reduces its resorption from food (lowering calcium levels). The parathyroid glands are epithelial corpuscles about 5 mm in size that produce parathyroid hormone (PTH), which contributes to the regulation of calcium and phosphate metabolism.

Adrenal glands

regulation of blood pressure, electrolyte balance and stress response

The adrenal glands consist of the two functional units adrenal medulla and cortex and is located at the upper pole of the kidneys. Their main function is the production of glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids and sex hormones, which are released after stimulation by the hormones of the pituitary gland (except mineral corticoids). The glucocorticoids inhibit the immune defense as well as inflammatory processes and contribute to the provision of energy by fat and protein breakdown and glycogenesis. Mineral corticoids have a paracrine effect in the kidney and influence blood pressure through reabsorption of water and sodium and increased calcium secretion. Furthermore, androgens such as estrogens and progestin and catecholamines such as epinephrine and norepinephrine are produced in the adrenal gland.


regulation of sexual development

Under gonads the exocrine units testis and ovaries are summarized. The hormonal action of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland (FSH and LH), causes a change in the ovary, whereby the oocytes maturing within it increasingly produce estrogen until ovulation. If LH secretion occurs, ovulation is ultimately triggered and the female sexual organs are prepared to receive sperm. Once ovulation is complete, a corpus luteum develops, which produces progesterone and another form of estrogen while inhibiting the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The male testis, like the ovary, is controlled by hormones (FSH and LH) from the pituitary gland. It contains the Leydig intermediate cells, which produce the male sex hormone testosterone, and the Sertoli cells, which produce inhibin and an androgen-binding protein (ABP) and are important for spermatogenesis.


provision of digestive enzymes

The pancreas contains endocrine cells, which are grouped together as an islet organ. These consist of individual islets of Langerhans, which produce the hormones insulin and glucagon, among others. Insulin secretion leads to lowers blood glucose levels by storing sugar in the liver, fatty tissue and skeletal muscle, and by directly breaking down the sugar present while simultaneously producing energy (glycolysis).

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What organs belong to the endocrine system? — Endocrin Clinic

1. What are hormones responsible for in our body?
2. What are the main components of the endocrine system?

What are hormones responsible for in our body?

Recently, all the inhabitants of our planet (not only doctors) have been very active in studying hormones.
“Harmony in hormones” is practically the slogan of a healthy person. And it doesn’t make sense. What are hormones responsible for in our body? The endocrine system or hormonal system is responsible for the regulation of all biological processes in the body from conception to old age.
Hormones (in parallel with the immune and nervous systems) clearly affect:

  • growth and development of the whole organism,
  • reproductive system function affect our psycho-emotional state! Just one of many examples is the so-called adolescence! How many “defeats” adults have won in the fight against unbridled teenagers. And in this war, one of the leading commanders has hormonal changes in the child’s body.
    So what are those very invisible “soldiers” of our body that actively influence our lives? Hormones are, in fact, the “couriers” of our body, such carriers of health (with the proper functioning of all organs and systems). Once in the blood, they deliver chemicals to the cells of the whole body. Hormones are produced in the endocrine glands and are proteins, steroids or protein derivatives.
    In addition to the endocrine system, the organs of our body are also involved in the production of hormones.
    Such as:

    • brain,
    • liver
    • heart and others. Do not follow the regime of the day, stress, lack of age-appropriate physical activity – all this entails the body’s inability to correctly and most importantly, release the necessary hormones that are so necessary for our body in time.

      What are the main components of the endocrine system?

      1. The hypothalamus is that part of the brain that is, in a way, a bridge between the endocrine and nervous systems. Its main task is to instruct the pituitary gland to start or stop producing hormones.
      2. The pituitary gland is the emperor of our endocrine system. He gives a command what to do to other glands of the body. We list only a few main spheres of influence of the pituitary gland:
        • affects the growth of the body
        • babies will never be deprived of mother’s milk with the smooth functioning of the pituitary gland
        • estrogen – female hormones
        • testosterone – male hormones.
        • Pineal gland – produces melatonin, the lack of which we suffer from insomnia and, as a result, an unstable emotional state
        • Thyroid gland. Instability in its function contributes to disturbances in physical and mental development, in the functioning of the cardiovascular system and in metabolism. We should not forget that the thyroid gland is a repository for iodine (such an essential substance, and especially in our region).
      3. Parathyroid gland is a calcium and phosphorus regulator.
      4. Thymus is the main violin in the development of the child’s immune system.
      5. Adrenal glands – promotes the production of an amazing hormone under the pseudonym “fight or flight” – adrenaline. In any extreme situation, it gives the human body incredible power to make a decision to either run or fight. The adrenal glands also produce hormones called corticosteroids. They affect your metabolism, heart rate, oxygen consumption, blood flow and sexual function.
      6. Pancreas. This organ is part of our digestive system. But, oddly enough, the endocrine system too. In addition to its main function of producing digestive enzymes and breaking down food, the pancreas also produces hormones such as insulin and glucagon. Pancreatic control ensures that you have the right amount of sugar in your bloodstream and cells. (an example is the “plague of the 21st century” – diabetes).
      7. Ovaries – produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones promote breast development during puberty, regulate the menstrual cycle, and support pregnancy.
      8. Testicles . In men, testosterone is produced by the testicles. This helps them grow facial and body hair during puberty. It also causes the male sexual organ to grow in size and plays a role in the production of semen.

      Endocrine system – Medical Association “ONA”

      The endocrine system ensures the stable operation of the human body in a constantly changing environment, its protection from stress.

      The endocrine system includes the following main organs: hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, mammary gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries (testes in men), gallbladder and appendix. ES organs are glands that provide growth, physiological development, reproductive functions of a person, as well as the course of the most important processes of balancing the activity of the whole organism under continuously changing external influences. Management of all this work and control over the correctness of its implementation is carried out in the body by hormones, which are produced by the glands of the ES. Each hormone is responsible for its own organs and functions, but works in a delicate balance with hormones produced by other glands. Depending on the function being performed at the moment, a different balance of hormones is required. Its failure causes disruption of the corresponding systems, organs, the flow of necessary reactions, which leads to the appearance of abnormalities in the body, and then diseases. Therefore, regular monitoring of hormonal levels is the key to the timely detection of violations and their curability. Another feature of ES should be noted: the interconnection and interdependence of its glands is so great that a violation found in one of the organs almost automatically means the presence of problems in others – after all, there is a hormonal failure.

      Endocrine glands (EG) do not have excretory ducts, and the substances they secrete (hormones) enter directly into the blood and lymph. By sending hormones into the blood, EJs create a communication system and control the work of literally every cell in the body. Hormones provide its chemical balance, give the cells an indication of how to act, given their abilities and capabilities. The purpose of the EJ is to ensure the well-being of the whole organism, the balance in the work of internal organs, regardless of changes in the external environment, to protect the body from the destructive effects of stress.

      Hypothalamus. Regulates the temperature reaction, establishes the correct ratio between heat release and heat transfer, controls the pituitary gland.

      Pituitary gland. Manages the operation of the entire system. Incoming and outgoing messages are coordinated and make the ES work efficiently and harmoniously. The pituitary gland controls the body’s chemical balance by influencing most of the body’s chemical processes (for example, regulating water-salt and fat metabolism).

      There is a constant need for the body to adapt to external changes, and this is also part of the task of the pituitary gland. The human body grows, wears out, and the pituitary gland is engaged in ensuring growth and repair. In addition, it provides reproductive function.

      The pituitary gland performs its functions with the help of hormones that stimulate other endocrine glands. Those, in turn, secrete hormones that affect the pituitary gland itself and the nervous system. What happens in the body when the production of only one hormone is disrupted can be seen in the example of growth hormone. If it is produced more than the norm, a person becomes a victim of gigantism, if it is less than the norm, he remains a dwarf.

      The pituitary gland is called the conductor of the ES, and sometimes its “brain”.

      Thyroid. If the pituitary gland is the conductor of ES, then the thyroid gland (TG) is its metronome. It kind of sets the pace for all the cells of the body. The main function of the thyroid gland is to control the proper metabolism, the absorption of oxygen. It can speed up the metabolism if it increases the amount of hormones sent to the blood stream, or slow it down by reducing their amount. However, this does not happen, since its work is under the control of thyroid-stimulating hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. And that, in turn, manages the thyroid hormone, which provides feedback to the pituitary gland. That is, between the pituitary gland and the thyroid gland, there is a self-regulating mechanism of balance and control, working in a certain cycle.

      Normal thyroid function promotes growth, puberty, childbearing, mental development, emotional balance, vitality.

      Adrenals. Their bark is actually a gland, also called adrenal. It produces adrenaline, which increases vascular tone and blood pressure. The adrenal cortex affects the performance of the body, its resistance to stress. Women’s adrenal glands also help the ovaries – they also produce sex hormones. Moreover, during menopause, when the ovaries stop their production.

      Pancreas. It produces insulin, which enhances the process of burning glycogen in muscles, which proceeds with the release of energy.

      Gallbladder. During stress, it releases bile, as a result of which the peristalsis of the small intestine increases, the rotting masses are quickly pushed into the large intestine, into the rectum. There is an accelerated release of toxins, thereby preventing their entry into the blood.

      Appendix. At the moment of stress, the release of the hormone occurs, as a result of which the peristalsis of the large intestine increases and the rotting masses are released through the rectum (often this process is called “bear disease”).

      Ovaries. In the broadest sense, the ovaries provide a woman with femininity. They perform this function with the help of two main hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone promotes fertility, while estrogen provides other signs of femininity, including the complex function of the menstrual cycle. And when the ovaries reduce its secretion, menopause occurs.

      Hormones. This is a Greek word meaning “I excite,” “I set into action. ” These are a kind of chemical messages, ordering the actions of certain organs. The hormone does not explain to the cells what kind of work they should do, but only determines how much and how quickly it should be done. Each hormone has its own controlled organs, but circulating through the body, it affects others, having a specific and general effect.

      The pituitary gland produces three main hormones: gonadotropic (stimulates the ovaries and sex glands) and mammotropic or prolactin (affects the mammary glands, promotes the formation of milk after the birth of a child) and thyrotropic.

      The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones. Inside the body there are constant chemical processes. With their help, food and oxygen are processed and transformed into living matter, heat and energy are consumed, unnecessary residues are thrown away, and what wears out is reconstructed. Various chemical processes take place during respiration, digestion, in the work of muscles, in the secretion of glands.