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What does the endocrine system look like: Endocrine glands – Health Video: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Unlocking the Endocrine System – Lesson

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Grade Level: 5

Time Required: 30 minutes

Lesson Dependency: None

Subject Areas:


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Students learn how the endocrine system works and compare it to the mail delivery system. Students discuss the importance of communication in human body systems and relate that to engineering and astronauts.
This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Engineering Connection

The endocrine system helps us learn the importance of communication in the body. Good communication skills are also an important part of engineering. Astronauts have to communicate well with each other both on Earth and in outer space. Engineers also design the technologies that make communication in space and on Earth possible, including cell phones, digital video equipment and satellites.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students should be able to:

  • List several parts of the endocrine system.
  • Compare the endocrine system to a mail delivery system.
  • Explain why communication is important for engineers and astronauts.

Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science,
technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN),
a project of D2L (www. achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics;
within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards – Science

International Technology and Engineering Educators Association – Technology

State Standards

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Today we are going to talk about communication. Who can give me a definition of what communication is? (Possible answers: Communication involves talking to other people, conveying information between people, etc.). Great job! Thank you for thinking hard about that. Now, we have been talking a lot about astronauts and outer space, so let’s think together about why communication would be important for astronauts. Does anyone have any ideas? (Possible answers: Astronauts need to be able to talk with each other, even when they are in their space suits, and the astronauts in the space shuttle need to be able to talk back and forth with mission control on Earth). Great answers! Now let’s talk about one more group of people that need to be really good at communicating: engineers! Why do you think it is so important for engineers to be good communicators? Engineers must be able to explain their ideas so that other people can understand them.

How does this relate to the human body? Well, today we are going to learn about a body system that is all about communication! This system is called the endocrine system (write the word endocrine on the board). The endocrine system helps carry messages throughout your body, to tell your body what to do. You can think of it as a giant mail system.

Here is how it works: your body has many endocrine glands, which secrete hormones into your blood. The bloodstream carries the hormones to a specific place (an organ or a receptor) that is designed to receive them. Once the hormone gets to that specific place, it gives your body some special instructions. Some of these instructions tell your body to make more red blood cells, to make more white blood cells, to secrete acid to digest food, to absorb calcium, or even to make you not feel hungry any more. Hormones can also tell the cells in your body when to divide and grow.

So, if we compare this whole endocrine system to how mail gets delivered, the endocrine gland would be like someone who puts a letter in the mailbox, then the bloodstream (which would be like the mail carrier) carries the letter to exactly where it is supposed to go (to just the right new mailbox, which would be like an organ, or receptor). Then, when the person who receives the mail reads their letter, it is similar to your body receiving the hormone (at the organ or receptor) and then doing what the hormone (letter) suggests to do. Pretty neat, isn’t it!

In a microgravity environment such as space, astronauts cannot easily send letters back to Earth to see how everything is going. However, astronauts need to be able to communicate with ground control on Earth to see if their body systems are being monitored correctly and even if the timing is right for their return to Earth. Engineers need to understand how to best communicate in return with the astronauts as well, and they work to design the technologies, including cameras, video equipment, satellite phones and monitoring equipment, to be able to communicate with the astronauts while they are so far from home.

Lesson Background and Concepts for Teachers

The endocrine system is all about communication. There are two main communication pathways in your body: the nervous system and the endocrine system. In the nervous system, signals travel very fast, and lead to almost instantaneous responses. In the endocrine system, chemicals travel through your body more slowly, and the response to these chemicals can be slow and/or long lasting.


What is a hormone? It is a chemical that has a high level of specificity, which means that it will only react with a specific receptor site in your body. The lock and key analogy is often used to explain this specificity, and it is a great way to think about how hormones work. Hormones convey important information to the body, including such instructions as cell division and growth, appetite suppression, acid secretion, calcium absorption, and red and white blood cell production. Students can learn more about hormone interactions with the associated activity Endocrine Excitement!

Hormones are secreted by endocrine glands. There are eight major endocrine glands. Those glands, along with their main functions, are listed below:

Pituitary gland – regulates other endocrine glands; secretes growth hormone.

Thyroid – regulates metabolic rate.

Thymus – assists in development of immune system.

Adrenal gland – regulates fluid and sodium balance; emergency warning system under stress.

Ovary – controls development of secondary sex characteristics and functioning of sex organs.

Testis – controls development of secondary sex characteristics and functioning of sex organs.

Pancreatic islets – helps regulate blood sugar.

Pineal gland – believed to regulate biorhythms and moods and stimulate the onset of puberty.

Figure 1. Major endocrine glands.copyright

Copyright © U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program, Training Website, http://training. seer.cancer.gov/ module_anatomy/unit6_3_endo_glnds.html

Two hormones that engineers are involved in producing are growth hormone and insulin. Growth hormone can be used for children (or some adults) whose bodies do not produce enough on their own, and insulin is needed for people who have diabetes.

Associated Activities

Lesson Closure

Today we learned about the endocrine system and how it helps the body communicate signals like when to grow or digest food. Who can tell me the four main parts of the endocrine system? (Answer: endocrine glands, hormones, receptor sites, bloodstream) How is the endocrine system like the mail system? Well, the endocrine gland sends a hormone message, like a letter, and the bloodstream mail carrier carries it to the receptor site, like a new mailbox. Lastly, the body reacts to the hormone message, as somebody might if they read the letter. It’s all about communication!

Who remembers why communication is important to astronauts and engineers? That’s right, astronauts and engineers have to communicate well with each other both on Earth and in outer space. Engineers also design the technologies that make communication in space and on Earth possible, including cell phones, digital video equipment and satellites.


Adrenal Gland: Regulates fluid and sodium balance; emergency warning system under stress.

Endocrine Gland: A gland in the body which secretes hormones into the bloodstream.

Hormone: A chemical secreted by endocrine glands which carries instructions to the body.

Ovary: Controls development of secondary sex characteristics and functioning of sex organs.

Pancreatic islets: Helps regulate blood sugar.

Pineal gland: Believed to regulate biorhythms and moods and stimulate the onset of puberty.

Pituitary Gland: Regulates other endocrine glands; secretes growth hormone.

Receptor: A specific site on a cell designed to recognize and accept a specific hormone.

Testis: Controls development of secondary sex characteristics and functioning of sex organs.

Thymus: Assists in development of the immune system.

Thyroid: Regulates metabolic rate.


Pre-Lesson Assessment

Discussion Topic: Talk with students about the importance of good communication. Discuss what happens when we have problems communicating in the classroom, or with our friends. Talk about why communication is important for us, for astronauts, and for engineers!

Post-Introduction Assessment

Voting: Ask a true/false question and have students vote by holding thumbs up for true and thumbs down for false. Count the votes and write the totals on the board. Be sure to tell students the right answer after they vote.

  • True or False: Engineers do not need to be good communicators. (Answer: False, communication is a very important part of being an engineer.)
  • True or False: The endocrine system in our bodies is like the mail system, and hormones are like letters that get delivered by our bloodstream. (Answer: True)
  • True or False: Hormones go to a specific place in our body and tell our body what to do. (Answer: True)

Lesson Summary Assessment

Matching: Create a list of parts of the endocrine system, and parts of the mail system. Randomly write the endocrine system parts on the left side of the board and the mail system parts on the right side of the board. As a class, have the students match the correct sides together. For example:

Bloodstream Mail carrier, who carries the message or letter to the right spot

Hormone The message or letter, which has specific instructions in it

Organ or Receptor The mailbox, where the message needs to go in exactly the right box!

Endocrine gland The person who wrote the letter or is mailing out the instructions

(Note: these pairs are sorted correctly, but should be randomly mixed for the students).

Lesson Extension Activities

Have students research the production of insulin or human growth hormone.

Help students research and give a presentation on endocrine disruptors.

For older students, teachers may want to discuss the role of illegal steroids in sports.


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More Curriculum Like This

Upper Elementary Activity

Endocrine Excitement!

In this activity, students are divided into a group of hormones and a group of receptors. The hormones have to find their matching receptors, and the pair, once matched, perform a given action. This activity helps students learn about the specificity of hormone-receptor interactions within the endoc…

Endocrine Excitement!

Upper Elementary Lesson

Digestive System

This lesson introduces students to the main parts of the digestive system and how they interact. In addition, students learn about some of the challenges astronauts face when eating in outer space. Engineers figure out how to deal with such challenges.

Digestive System

Upper Elementary Lesson

The Heart of the Matter

This lesson describes how the circulatory system works, including the heart, blood vessels and blood. Students learn about the chambers and valves of the heart, the difference between veins and arteries, and the different components of blood.

The Heart of the Matter

Upper Elementary Lesson

Nerve Racking

Students learn about the function and components of the human nervous system, which helps them understand the purpose of our brains, spinal cords, nerves and five senses. In addition, how the nervous system is affected during spaceflight is also discussed.

Nerve Racking


Fox, Stuart Ira. Human Physiology. Seventh Edition. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2002.

Graham, John F. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, “Chapter 31: The Human Body in Outer Space,” 1995. www.space.edu Accessed May 31, 2006

Ho, Wayne, M.D. and Dowshen, Steven, M.D. Nemours Foundation, Teens Health, Endocrine System, February 2004. kidshealth.org Accessed May 31, 2006

Oliveaux, Juli. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Science: Human Life Sciences, “Endocrinology,” July 16, 1999. spaceflight.nasa.gov Accessed May 31, 2006

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC), Office on Women’s Health, GirlsHealth.gov, Body – Becoming a Woman, Learn about your whole body – from your heart to your bones,” March 2006.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP), “What are Endocrine Disruptors?” May 2006. www.greenfacts.org

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP), “Endocrine Primer,” May 2006. www.epa.gov Accessed May 31, 2006

U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program, “Introduction to the Endocrine System.

U.S. National Library of Medicine, Genetics Home Reference, “Growth Hormone,” May 30, 2006. ghr.nlm.nih.gov Accessed May 31, 2006


© 2006 by Regents of the University of Colorado


Abigail Watrous; Malinda Schaefer Zarske; Janet Yowell

Supporting Program

Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder


The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation GK-12 grant no. 0338326. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education or National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: March 12, 2022

Why would I visit and what can I expect?

An endocrinologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats hormone-related problems and complications, such as an overactive thyroid, diabetes, and fertility issues. Hormones affect metabolism, body temperature regulation, appetite, and many other functions.

Endocrinology and endocrinologists focus on the hormones, the many glands and tissues that produce them, and how to redress the balance when things go wrong.

Hormones regulate metabolism, respiration, growth, reproduction, sensory perception, and movement. Hormone imbalances can lead to a wide range of medical conditions.

Humans have over 50 different hormones. They can exist in tiny amounts but still significantly affect bodily function and development.

Here, find out why a person might need to see an endocrinologist and some diseases they can help with. Then, read about the different parts of the endocrine system, the hormones they produce, and some health conditions that can arise if they do not function effectively.

If a person sees a physician about symptoms of a health problem, the physician may refer them to an endocrinologist. They will do this if they believe the underlying cause may be hormone related.

Endocrinologists are doctors trained to diagnose and manage diseases that affect the glands and hormones. They aim to restore hormonal balance within the body’s systems.

There are three broad groups of endocrine disorders:

  • Hyposecretion: A gland does not produce enough hormones.
  • Hypersecretion: A gland produces too much of its hormones.
  • Tumors: These may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous).

A hormonal imbalance can result from genetic or environmental factors.

A person may be born with a genetic feature that affects hormone production, or they may acquire a disease, such as type 2 diabetes, that changes hormone activity in the body.

Environmental factors that can affect hormone function include the use of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These are present in the air, soil, water supply, and manufactured products.

Sometimes, both environmental and genetic features play a role.

Here are just a few of the conditions endocrinologists often treat:

  • diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • menopause
  • metabolic disorders
  • thyroid diseases
  • excessive or insufficient production of hormones
  • some cancers
  • short stature
  • fertility issues

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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The endocrine system consists of a number of glands. The hormones they release affect many different functions. When the hormones leave the glands, they enter the bloodstream, where they travel to organs and tissues throughout the body.

Hormones regulate a wide range of functions, such as:

  • breathing
  • metabolism, which is how the body converts food into energy
  • touch, feel, and other senses
  • movement
  • sexual development, reproduction, and fertility
  • growth

The endocrine system consists of many glands that produce and regulate hormones. The body needs an appropriate balance of these hormones to work effectively.

Adrenal glands

The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. They are divided into two regions. The right gland is triangular, and the left is crescent-shaped.

The adrenal glands secrete:

  • corticosteroids, the steroids involved in stress responses, the immune system, inflammation, and more
  • catecholamines, such as norepinephrine and epinephrine, also in response to stress
  • aldosterone, which affects kidney function
  • androgens, or male sex hormones, including testosterone.

Both males and females have some androgen, but males have higher levels. Androgens play a key role in the development of characteristics associated with males, such as facial hair and a deeper voice.

Health issues

Hypersecretion, or high levels of adrenal hormones, may lead to:

  • over-nervousness
  • sweating
  • high blood pressure
  • Cushing’s syndrome

What is hyperaldosteronism?

Hyposecretion, or low levels, may lead to:

  • Addison’s disease
  • mineralocorticoid deficiency
  • weight loss
  • loss of energy
  • anemia


The hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem and below the thalamus.

This gland activates and controls involuntary body functions, including:

  • appetite
  • fluid balance in the body
  • body temperature
  • the circadian cycle or body clock
  • milk production
  • growth

The hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the attached pituitary gland.

The hormones it manages affect the activity of the:

  • thyroid gland
  • adrenal glands
  • reproductive organs

Which nutrients support the hypothalamus and pituitary gland?

Ovaries and testicles

The ovaries are located on either side of the uterus in females. They are the female gonads and secreteestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones.

The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system and essential for:

  • sexual development
  • puberty
  • menstruation
  • fertility
  • pregnancy
  • childbirth
  • menopause

The testicles or testes are the male gonads. They are located in the scrotum, below the penis. They secrete androgens, mainly testosterone. They are part of the male reproductive system.

Androgens are essential for:

  • sexual development
  • puberty
  • facial hair
  • sexual behavior
  • libido
  • erectile function
  • fertility and conception
  • the formation of sperm cells

Both males and females produce estrogen and testosterone, but the levels and balance are different. For this reason, people consider estrogen a female hormone and testosterone a male hormone.

What is the difference between sex and gender?


Located in the abdomen, the pancreas is both an endocrine gland and a digestive organ.

It releases:

  • Insulin: Insulin is essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body.
  • Somatostatin: This hormone regulates endocrine and nervous system functions. It also controls the secretion of several hormones, such as gastrin, insulin, and growth hormone.
  • Glucagon: This peptide hormone raises blood glucose levels when they fall too low.
  • Pancreatic polypeptide: This helps control the secretion of substances made by the pancreas.

How do insulin and glucagon regulate blood sugar?

Health issues

Diabetes and digestive issues can result from problems with the pancreas. The main concerns relate to blood sugar imbalance.

If the pancreas produces too much insulin, hypoglycemia will result. This is when blood glucose levels are too low. If it produces too little, a person will have hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose levels.

Diabetes happens when the pancreas can no longer produce or use insulin effectively, also known as insulin resistance. A wide range of complications can result.

What is insulin therapy?

Parathyroid glands

These are small endocrine glands in the neck. They produce parathyroid hormone, which regulates calcium and phosphate in the blood.

Health issues

Muscles and nerves can only operate effectively if these chemicals are at the correct levels.

High levels of parathyroid hormone may lead to brittle bones that fracture easily and stones in the urinary system.

Low levels may lead to involuntary muscle contractions caused by low calcium levels in plasma.

Pineal body, or pineal gland

The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland located deep in the brain. It secretes melatonin and helps control the body’s sleep and wakefulness patterns.

Changes that can disrupt the function of this gland include:

  • tumors
  • cysts
  • calcifications
  • changes to light-dark or sleep-wake patterns, for instance, due to jet lag

Pituitary gland

This is an endocrine gland attached to the hypothalamus, at the base of the brain.

It is sometimes called the main endocrine master gland because it secretes hormones that regulate the functions of other glands, as well as growth and several other bodily functions.

The anterior, or front, pituitary secretes hormones that affect:

  • reproduction
  • growth
  • metabolism
  • response to stress or trauma
  • thyroid function
  • adrenocortical function

The posterior, or rear, pituitary secretes oxytocin, a hormone that increases contractions of the uterus. It also secretes an antidiuretic hormone (ADH) that encourages the kidneys to reabsorb water.

Health issues

Depending on the hormone produced, an overactive pituitary gland may lead to gigantism, or excessive growth. Underactivity may lead to limited growth, short stature, and low activity in other endocrine glands.

If the gland produces too much ADH, fluid retention can occur. Too little can lead to excess water in the urine.

Thymus gland

The thymus gland is located beneath the breastbone, or sternum. It is the main organ responsible for the production and maturing of immune cells or lymphocytes, which protect the body from infections and other diseases.

Problems with this gland can seriously affect a person’s health.

Health issues

Hypersecretion may cause the immune system to overreact to perceived threats. This may result in an autoimmune disease.

Hyposecretion may lead to a weakened immune system, where the body is unable to fight infection and easily succumbs to viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

Thyroid gland

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located just below the Adam’s apple in the neck.

The hormones it produces are crucial for regulating:

  • blood pressure
  • body temperature
  • heart rate
  • metabolism
  • how the body reacts to other hormones

The thyroid gland produces two types of hormones. The inactive thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) makes up 90% of hormones produced while the active thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine (T3) makes up 10%.

Thyroxine is converted either to active thyroid hormone or another inactive hormone for various purposes throughout the body.

What are the signs of an iodine deficiency?

Health issues

Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, often stems from Graves’ disease.

It can lead to:

  • accelerated metabolism
  • sweating
  • arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat
  • weight loss
  • nervousness

Hypothyroidism may lead to:

  • tiredness
  • weight gain
  • depression
  • unusual bone development
  • developmental delay
  • slow growth

During the first visit, the doctor will ask a series of questions to help reach a diagnosis.

These might cover:

  • current medications
  • family history of hormonal problems
  • other medical conditions, including allergies
  • dietary and lifestyle habits

It can help to list any existing symptoms before the visit.

The endocrinologist might ask about symptoms that do not seem to be related. This is because small changes in one gland can affect the whole body.

The endocrinologist may check the person’s

  • heart rate
  • blood pressure
  • skin, hair, teeth, and mouth

They may take blood and urine samples for testing.

Following a diagnosis, the endocrinologist will suggest a treatment plan. This will depend on which underlying condition is causing the symptoms.

Hormones affect functions throughout the body. An imbalance can cause a wide range of health issues.

A family doctor may refer a person to an endocrinologist if they believe a hormone problem is the underlying cause of a health problem.

If you need to find an endocrinologist, ask a doctor or see the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ list of qualified practitioners. Check with your insurer regarding cover.

Read the article in Spanish.

Hormonal disorders in men – treatment in Medline in Kemerovo

Modern men are increasingly complaining about problems with potency and sexual desire, insomnia, poor digestion, overweight. The reason for such complaints is hormonal (endocrine) disorders caused by malfunctioning of the endocrine glands that produce them.

What gives a man the absence of hormonal disorders

  • Possibility of long-term preservation of sexual and reproductive function. With the full production of hormones, you can become a father even at an elderly age.
  • Good physical shape – male sex hormones make bones strong and muscles strong.
  • Health of the cardiovascular system. Maintaining a normal hormonal level provides a sufficient number of red blood cells and hemoglobin, which deliver oxygen to the tissues.
  • High activity and efficiency, positively influencing work and family relationships.

Causes of hormonal disorders in men

In the process of producing the main male hormone – testosterone, other hormonal substances are also involved, produced by brain structures – the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. It is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone, luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones. The endocrine system contains many links of regulation, therefore it can go astray under various adverse factors:

  • Improper functioning of the endocrine glands. All these organs are a single well-oiled mechanism, so the breakdown of any of its circuits automatically leads to an imbalance of hormones.
  • Stress that negatively affects brain activity, including the functions of the pituitary and hypothalamus that regulate testosterone secretion.
  • Wrong lifestyle, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, bad habits, also disrupting the endocrine system.
  • Diseases and injuries of the testicles. Diseased organs cannot function normally.
  • Male menopause is an age-related condition, accompanied by a decrease in hormonal function. The reasons for this phenomenon are the increase with age of globulin SHBG, which binds sex hormones and leads to a decrease in their activity.

The manifestation of hormonal disorders in men

  • Feminization. The appearance of female features of the figure: the deposition of fat on the hips and abdomen, enlargement of the mammary glands – gynecomastia. Hair growth according to the female type, a change in the timbre of the voice can be observed.
  • Decreased sexual function – fading of sexual desire, weakening of erection and problems with ejaculation.
  • Infertility is a violation of the production of germ cells that lose their ability to fertilize.
  • The occurrence of fractures caused by the leaching of calcium from bone structures and a decrease in bone density. Pain in bones and muscles, hunchback associated with old age.
  • Changes in skin properties: flabbiness, dryness, appearance of red stripes, inflammation, edema.
  • Nervous system disorders: depression, insomnia, memory impairment, tremor (shaking) of the hands, drowsiness, apathy. Sometimes, on the contrary, there is irritability and nervousness.

How is the examination of a man with suspected hormonal disorders

The doctor conducts a survey, finding out what complaints the patient has, when they arose and what they can be associated with. Satisfaction with intimate life is revealed. This is necessary to assess the patient’s sexual function. The specialist pays attention to the patient’s physique, the presence of body hair, and excess weight. This also allows you to think about the sufficiency of testosterone production. The endocrinologist examines the thyroid gland, palpation (palpation) of the abdomen is performed. The specialist evaluates the development of the male genital organs, checks for the presence of testicles in the scrotum and palpates them to determine tumors and other pathologies.

According to the results of the diagnosis of the patient are assigned:

  • Tests for other types of sex hormones.
  • Ultrasound of the scrotum, thyroid gland, adrenal glands.
  • Blood for general analysis and biochemical study, which allows to identify diseases that affect the hormonal background.
  • Densitometry. Assessment of bone density, which may decrease with some hormonal pathologies.


According to the results of the diagnostics, patients are prescribed a treatment that equalizes the level of hormones. A man will need to regularly visit an endocrinologist in order to adjust the dosage of the drugs used in time.

The patient is prescribed medications that eliminate the unpleasant consequences of hormonal dysfunction – soothing, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, normalizing the work of the heart and other organs.

Treatment improves sexual function, enhances erection, relieves psychological discomfort, promotes the disappearance of fat deposits on the abdomen, and increases bone density.

In order to maintain their health for a long time, the patient needs, at the first signs of a hormonal failure, to contact an experienced endocrinologist at the Medline Medical Center in Kemerovo, to be examined and treated for the identified pathologies. Make an appointment with an endocrinologist in Kemerovo right now by calling 8 (3842) 49-20-70 or on the website!

Acne due to hormonal imbalance

The human body can be compared to an orchestra, where each organ has its own part. Leather, the largest “instrument” in terms of area, occupies one of the central places in this ensemble.


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It is conducted by the endocrine system – a complex of special glands that secrete synthesized substances (hormones) directly into the blood.

Hormones are a kind of “flash drives”. They can tell the recorded information to the cell when they find the right connector (in medicine, it is called a receptor) and connect to it exactly.

It is important that the hormones carrying opposite commands are in the correct ratio among themselves, and that the receptor connectors do not react to substances that are similar in structure. If one of the conditions is violated at the level of the sebaceous glands, a person may develop acne or pimples on the skin.

Which hormones affect

the appearance of acne

Acne may be associated with a violation of the amount of

or the balance between hormones such as

  • estradiol;
  • prolactin;
  • insulin-like growth factor;
  • follicle-stimulating hormone;
  • glucocorticosteroids;
  • insulin;
  • dihydroepiandrosterone;
  • testosterone;
  • dihydrotestosterone.

Most of these hormones are produced in the human adrenal and gonads. Their work is “commanded” by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland – organs closely connected with the brain.

When hormonal acne appears

Conventionally, the causes of acne can be divided into physiological and pathological. The first ones are a variant of the norm, while the second ones indicate a certain disease.

Physiological causes

This group includes the appearance of pustular elements during puberty and before menstruation.

Teenage acne

Acne in adolescence is caused by an increase in testosterone levels. This hormone, having “approached” the skin receptors, is converted into its more active metabolite – dihydrotestosterone, which is also obtained in large quantities. An increased concentration of dihydrotestosterone stimulates the cells of the sebaceous glands to divide more strongly. More cells produce more sebum – in this situation, the skin becomes oily, and in addition, the removal of sebum to the skin surface is disrupted, since the process of cell division of the excretory duct of the sebaceous-hair follicle changes in parallel, through which the sebum enters the skin surface. So-called comedones (or, as they are also called, black dots) are formed.

Sebum is food for Propionebacterium acnes bacteria living on the skin. With increased sebum production, favorable conditions are formed for their reproduction, and a decrease in the oxygen concentration in the lumen of the sebaceous-hair follicle, which develops when there is a violation of the removal of sebum to the skin surface, is also a provoking factor for the reproduction of these bacteria.

Propionebacterium acnes during its vital activity produce factors that stimulate inflammation. That is why, as the disease progresses, inflamed elements (red in color, often with a purulent head) begin to appear on the skin.

Teenagers are more likely to develop acne if their parents have had acne or if they have high testosterone levels.

Pimples before menstruation

The first phase of the menstrual cycle begins immediately after the end of menstruation. At this time, the ovaries secrete increased amounts of estrogen, a hormone that inhibits the work of the sebaceous glands and increases skin moisture. In the second phase, after ovulation, estrogen becomes scarce, as a result of which its beneficial effect on the skin is suppressed by progesterone. The latter is the cause of increased production of sebum. As a result, skin pores become clogged, Propionebacterium acnes actively develops in them, which causes red and inflamed acne to appear on the skin.

Pathological causes

Diseases of the endocrine system, in which the level of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, progesterone or glucocorticoid hormones, can increase, cause acne.

Most common

  • adrenal tumor
  • Tumor or inflammation of the pituitary gland
  • inflammation of the genital organs
  • polycystic ovaries

How to understand that acne

is hormonal?

If acne occurs during adolescence or appears only before menstruation, this is an indicator that they occur due to physiological (normal variant) changes in the hormonal sphere. When they “show up” out of connection with these two situations, you need to visit an endocrinologist and study the level of hormones in the blood and urine. Which hormones should be checked, the doctor will say.

How to treat hormonal acne

To cure acne, you need to know the leverage. In the case when this is a violation of the endocrine organs, the hormonal background should be corrected. How to do this, the endocrinologist will tell based on determining the exact concentration of each hormone, their activity, the number of receptors for them and other important information.

While the hormonal balance is being corrected, Propionebacterium acnes must be fought, which can maintain inflammation in clogged pores even after the endocrine cause has been eliminated.

One of the drugs with a pronounced antibacterial activity against Propionebacterium acnes is Zerkalin® solution.

It prevents their reproduction by penetrating into the deepest and oxygen-protected areas of clogged sebaceous hair follicles due to its alcohol base. By reducing the amount of Propionebacterium acnes, Zerkalin has an anti-inflammatory effect, which leads to a decrease in the formation of acne.

Zerkalin® does not leave marks on the skin and does not increase its sensitivity to sunlight. To achieve a stable effect, the drug is recommended to be used for 6-8 weeks. You need to use it 2 times a day – in the morning and in the evening, 15-20 minutes after washing.

Ustinov Mikhail Vladimirovich

In girls and women, the course of acne can have cyclic features of the course of the disease. This is also reflected in the favorite areas of localization, which allow the dermatologist to suspect that one of the causes of the disease is a hormonal imbalance. In addition, it is for the beautiful half of humanity that the so-called “late female acne” is characteristic, while in men, late forms are a rather rare occurrence. In addition to a clear change in the status of sex hormones that can be investigated, there is often a situation where the tests are normal, but the cyclicity and localization clearly indicate a hormonal effect on the disease.