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Your Endocrine System: A List of Useful Organs


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Are you familiar with the following internal organs and glands?



Was that a yes we hear? Well, you should be familiar with at least some of them. All of them are quite useful. We seldom think about these essential internal structures. Your endocrine system is a simple network of tissues tasked to produce hormones which alter the function of other glands and organs. Let’s talk about their various roles in our bodies.

Organ/GlandWhat Does It Do?Signs Your Organ Is Not Doing So Well
Adrenal glandsYou have 2 adrenal glands. One on top of each kidney. They make hormones that: 

  1. Regulate your blood pressure. 
  2. Control your heart rate.
  3. Balance the level of potassium and sodium in your body.
  4. Enable you to react to stress (fight or flight response).
You may feel the following signs and symptoms if you’re adrenal glands aren’t performing well:

  • You tire easily.
  • You feel nauseated.
  • You experience abdominal pain.
  • You feel thirsty most of the time.
  • You may have skin problems.
HypothalamusThis structure is located in your brain. It’s like an interpreter between your endocrine system and your nervous system.

It makes sure that what you think and feel is carried out by your endocrine system. It’s also the boss of your pituitary gland.


Besides controlling the pituitary gland, it also handles…

  • Weight and appetite (Now, you’re interested, huh?).
  • Water and salt balance.
  • How fast you grow; vertically and horizontally.
  • How hot you are (your temperature wise guy).
Anything which upsets your hypothalamus may also affect your pituitary and the rest of the endocrine organs.
So if it’s troubled your hypothalamus can produce the same signs as the other glands show individually when they are sick.
Ovaries For females only.


Located deep in a woman’s pelvic cavity, the ovaries are responsible for production of the female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) and eggs.


Female hormones have a lot to offer and keep themselves busy giving women their feminising looks: breast growth, fat relocation to hips and buttocks, menstrual cycle regulation, pregnancy, and that growth spurt during puberty.
If your body doesn’t produce enough female hormones, the following happens:

  • Your menstruation comes to a halt.
  • You feel cranky and experience sudden mood changes.
  • You may have hot flashes.

 

Pancreas The sweetest of all the endocrine glands simply because it’s the main one responsible for the proper use of glucose.


It’s located inside your abdominal cavity, beside its neighbours, your spleen and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum).


It secretes insulin which is important for moving glucose from the bloodstream into the tissues.
If your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, you will suffer from the effects of excess sugar leading to diabetes mellitus.


Signs of diabetes mellitus include: you pee frequently, you drink water excessively, and you eat a lot of food. These are some of the most common symptoms of diabetes.


Your pancreas also produces digestive enzymes so if it’s unwell, you can also experience poor digestive function.
Parathyroid Your parathyroid glands are actually four glands that have set up camp in your thyroid gland.


These four best-of-friends glands produce a hormone that helps regulate calcium in your body and blood.
Clues that may point toward an overzealous parathyroid gland include osteoporosis (brittle bones) and a feeling of being too tired most of the time. Tired, not lazy, there’s a difference!
Pineal glandThe pineal gland is comfortably relaxing in the middle of your brain.


It produces melatonin, a hormone responsible for helping you sleep at night and wake up in the morning. It acts as your internal clock and also directs your hunger and thirst.
Difficulty falling asleep and not getting good quality sleep are the main clues that your pineal gland may be turning over to the dark side.
Pituitary glandYour pituitary gland is much like a talent manager located in your brain. It manages other endocrine glands while taking orders from your hypothalamus.Anything which upsets your pituitary gland may also upset the rest of the endocrine organs. It follows that it can produce the same clues as other organs when they fall ill individually.


One unique sign that your pituitary gland may be sick is gigantism.


In gigantism, there’s an excess of growth hormone from your pituitary allowing you to grow abnormally large.
TestesFor males only.


Your testes are located inside your scrotum. They produce the male hormone, testosterone.
The main function of testosterone is to make you more masculine in physical appearance. That means the whole package: more hair in secret places, deeper voice, greater muscle (or flab?), and growth. Sperm production also occurs in the testes.
If your body doesn’t produce enough male hormone, the following happens:

  • You lose muscle mass.
  • Your voice doesn’t deepen during puberty.
  • You may develop breasts.
  • Your body and beard hair growth reduces.
ThymusYour thymus is thought of more as part of your immune system than your endocrine system. It’s located behind your sternum.


After you hit puberty, your thymus is no longer needed and begins to shrink and slowly gets replaced by fat tissue.


Your thymus is responsible for producing immune cells to fight infections.
A poorly functioning thymus manifests itself as you being susceptible to multiple infections early in your childhood.
ThyroidIt’s found on the lower front of your neck.


Your thyroid is shaped like a butterfly and produces hormones that contribute to how fast your cells get fuel from food and use it for energy.
Thyroid hormones could manifest symptoms in one of two directions: an excess or deficiency of hormones.


Excess: your heart pounds in your chest (palpitations), and is very rapid, you may have tremors and heat intolerance.


Deficiency: you easily get tired, have dry skin, constipation, cold intolerance and weight gain.
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In unity (of organs), there is strength…



All of these structures manage hidden tasks and responsibilities inside your body on a daily basis. We don’t really notice them accomplishing essential jobs for us. But if one organ or gland fails, it will invariably and eventually have its effects on the rest of the pack as well. That’s why you should take good care of all of them.


Most of the organs we’ve discussed above secrete hormones which can affect the way you think, digest, feel, exercise, sleep and much more. Why on Earth should we ignore them? Keep an eye out for the possible signs of them becoming unwell and unable to perform their functions. Those are your cues to go see your healthcare practitioner.



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