The pituitary gland is a tiny gland, no bigger than a pea which is based at the bottom of the brain. The pituitary gland is also known as the hypophysis.
Despite its size it is an extremely important gland. It has three different lobes, the antenor, intermediate and posterior.
These regulate and control a huge range of functions within the human body. Growth hormones are controlled by the pituitary, as well as controlling the adrenal and thyroid glands, skin pigmentation is also regulated by the pituitary.
The pituitary is also very important to women who are giving birth because it actually makes the uterus contract in childbirth, then after the birth it stimulates the production of breast milk. The pituitary also has a role to play in regulating the ovaries in women (and the testes in men).
Finally, it also helps the absorption of water fromt he body into the bloodstream which is vital to life. Hence why it is such a useful gland !
The pituitary gland is part of the endocrine system of the body, so let us start with that. The endocrine system consists of glands located in various parts of the body. These glands produce active chemical substances called "hormones" These glands send their secretions directly into the blood stream to be distributed throughout the body. The endocrine system as a whole is involved with "regulating" many things that happen in the body. And the pituitary gland, which is part of this system, controls many of the functions of the body. In fact, it is the most important part of the body in regulating growth, the production of milk, and in controlling all other endocrine glands.
A truly amazing thing about this vital gland is that it is about the size of a pea and weighs about the same! It is joined to the under surface of the brain and is protected by a bony structure.
Even though the pituitary is such a small gland, it is divided into two distinct parts called "lobes"—the anterior lobe and the upper lobe. And into the upper lobe, which is the smaller of the two, go more than 50,000 nerve fibers connecting it with various parts of the body!
The pituitary gland controls growth in children by acting on another gland, the thyroid. The pituitary also controls the sexual development of a person. And it regulates the metabolism of the body, which has to do with the transforming of food into various forms of energy. It is also involved with certain muscles, the kidneys and other organs.
Tumours that may grow on this gland can make it over-active or under-active. And one result of this activity can be to make people grow to giants or develop so poorly that they will be dwarfs.
It is located in the brain and without it, you wouldn't grow correctly and you would die. It is possible to live without it with weekly injections.
A very important gland in terms of location and functioning both, the pituitary gland is attached to the very bottom of the human brain. As far as size goes, it resembles a pea and consists of four parts.
The functional aspect of the pituitary gland illustrates its importance in the regard that it is the most vital gland in the body that controls the hormone output of all the other ductless glands, which include the thyroid and sex glands too.
The pituitary gland was given its name by a Belgian named Andreas Vesalius, who is known as the father of anatomy. Initially Vesalius assumed that the pituitary gland discharges mucus into the nose. The name of this gland was christened in relevance to its location, which was behind the nasal passage, hanging by a puny stalk.
In the case of failure of functioning on behalf of the pituitary gland, the person may suffer from gigantism or dwarfism. Other disorders resulting from the failure of the pituitary gland include extreme fatness, extreme thinness and also disturbances in sexual development.
It is an endocrine gland, which is about the size of the pea, and its main function is to secrete hormones that is used in homeostasis.