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Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago (XML)

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
Formerly Children's Memorial
www.luriechildrens.org



What Are Glands?

When people talk about glands, what do they mean? The answer is many different things. Glands are important organs, you have a variety of them all over your body, and though many of them are small, each produces something important.

Some glands make something that is released from the body — like saliva, sweat, or tears. And if you're a girl, the mammary glands in your breasts could someday make breast milk to feed a baby.

Other glands release hormones (say: HOR-mones), which are substances inside your body that tell it how to work and how to grow. Glands that do this are part of the endocrine (say: EN-doh-krin) system. Puberty — body changes that turn a kid into an adult — depend on the endocrine system.

Still other things that we call "glands" are part of your immune (say: ih-MYOON) system. They release substances that help you fight off illnesses and, if you are sick, help you get better. When you have a bad cold and your neck glands are swollen, that is your immune system in action.

Reviewed by: KidsHealth Medical Experts