Endocrine Systemenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-endocrineBB-enHD-AR1.gifThe glands of the endocrine system and the hormones they release affect almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies.endocrine, endocrinology, growth, development, thyroid, pituitary, hormones, metabolism, glands, hypothalamus, parathyroids, adrenals, pineal body, ovaries, testes, growth hormone, puberty, precocious puberty, prolactin, endorphins, adrenaline, epinephrine, ovulation, menstrual cycle, oxytocin, diabetes, insulin, gigantism, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, graves' disease, cushing's syndrome, blood sugar levels, estrogens, testosterone, androgens, melatonin, pancreas, corticosteroids, pregnancy, CD1Endocrinology07/06/200010/23/201809/02/2019Larissa Hirsch, MD10/01/2018b4b292ba-f3b7-42aa-83a3-3df7e9edb5c3https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/endocrine.html/<h3>What Is the Endocrine System?</h3> <p>The endocrine system is made up of glands that make <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hormones.html/">hormones</a>. Hormones are the body's chemical messengers. They carry information and instructions from one set of cells to another.</p> <p>The endocrine (EN-duh-krin) system influences almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies.</p> <h3>What Does the Endocrine System Do?</h3> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Endocrine glands release hormones into the bloodstream. This lets the hormones travel to cells in other parts of the body.</li> <li>The endocrine hormones help control mood, growth and development, the way our organs work, metabolism , and reproduction.</li> <li>The endocrine system regulates how much of each hormone is released. This can depend on levels of hormones already in the blood, or on levels of other substances in the blood, like calcium. Many things affect hormone levels, such as stress, infection, and changes in the balance of fluid and minerals in blood.</li> </ul> <p>Too much or too little of any hormone can harm the body. Medicines can treat many of these problems.</p> <h3>What Are the Parts of the Endocrine System?</h3> <p>While many parts of the body make hormones, the major glands that make up the endocrine system are the:</p> <ul> <li>hypothalamus</li> <li>pituitary</li> <li>thyroid</li> <li>parathyroids</li> <li>adrenals</li> <li>pineal body</li> <li>the ovaries</li> <li>the testes</li> </ul> <p>The pancreas is part of the endocrine system <strong>and</strong> the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/digestive.html/">digestive system</a>. That's because it secretes hormones into the bloodstream, and makes and secretes enzymes into the digestive tract.</p> <p><strong>Hypothalamus:</strong> The hypothalamus (hi-po-THAL-uh-mus) is in the lower central part of the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/brain-tumors.html/">brain</a>. It links the endocrine system and nervous system. Nerve cells in the hypothalamus make chemicals that control the release of hormones secreted from the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus gathers information sensed by the brain (such as the surrounding temperature, light exposure, and feelings) and sends it to the pituitary. This information influences the hormones that the pituitary makes and releases.</p> <p><strong>Pituitary:</strong> The pituitary (puh-TOO-uh-ter-ee) gland is at the base of the brain, and is no bigger than a pea. Despite its small size, the pituitary is often called the &quot;master gland.&quot; The hormones it makes control many other endocrine glands.</p> <p>The pituitary gland makes many hormones, such as:</p> <ul> <li>growth hormone, which stimulates the growth of bone and other body tissues and plays a role in the body's handling of nutrients and minerals</li> <li>prolactin (pro-LAK-tin), which activates milk production in women who are breastfeeding</li> <li>thyrotropin (thy-ruh-TRO-pin), which stimulates the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones</li> <li>corticotropin (kor-tih-ko-TRO-pin), which stimulates the adrenal gland to make certain hormones</li> <li>antidiuretic (an-ty-dy-uh-REH-tik) hormone, which helps control body water balance through its effect on the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/kidneys-urinary.html/">kidneys</a></li> <li>oxytocin (ahk-see-TOE-sin), which triggers the contractions of the uterus that happen during <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/true-labor.html/">labor</a></li> </ul> <p>The pituitary also secretes endorphins (en-DOR-fins), chemicals that act on the nervous system and reduce feelings of pain. The pituitary also secretes hormones that signal the reproductive organs to make sex hormones. The pituitary gland also controls ovulation and the menstrual cycle in women.</p> <p><strong>Thyroid:</strong> The thyroid (THY-royd) is in the front part of the lower neck. It's shaped like a bow tie or butterfly. It makes the thyroid hormones thyroxine (thy-RAHK-sin) and triiodothyronine (try-eye-oh-doe-THY-ruh-neen). These hormones control the rate at which cells burn fuels from food to make energy. The more thyroid hormone there is in the bloodstream, the faster chemical reactions happen in the body.</p> <p>Thyroid hormones are important because they help kids' and teens' bones grow and develop, and they also play a role in the development of the brain and nervous system.</p> <p><strong>Parathyroids:</strong> Attached to the thyroid are four tiny glands that work together called the parathyroids (par-uh-THY-roydz). They release parathyroid hormone, which controls the level of <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/calcium.html/">calcium</a> in the blood with the help of calcitonin (kal-suh-TOE-nin), which the thyroid makes.</p> <p><strong>Adrenal Glands:</strong> These two triangular adrenal (uh-DREE-nul) glands sit on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands have two parts, each of which makes a set of hormones and has a different function:</p> <ol class="kh_longline_list"> <li>The outer part is the <strong>adrenal cortex</strong>. It makes hormones called corticosteroids (kor-tih-ko-STER-oydz) that help control salt and water balance in the body, the body's response to stress, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/metabolism.html/">metabolism</a>, the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/immune.html/">immune system</a>, and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/development-foyer.html/">sexual development</a> and function.</li> <li>The inner part is the <strong>adrenal medulla</strong> (muh-DUH-luh). It makes catecholamines (kah-tuh-KO-luh-meenz), such as epinephrine (eh-puh-NEH-frun). Also called adrenaline, epinephrine increases blood pressure and heart rate when the body is under stress.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Pineal:</strong> The pineal (pih-NEE-ul) body, also called the pineal gland, is in the middle of the brain. It secretes melatonin (meh-luh-TOE-nin), a hormone that may help regulate when we sleep at night and wake in the morning.</p> <p><strong>Reproductive Glands:</strong> The gonads are the main source of sex hormones. In boys the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/male-reproductive.html/">male gonads</a>, or testes (TES-teez), are in the scrotum. They secrete hormones called androgens (AN-druh-junz), the most important of which is testosterone (tess-TOSS-tuh-rone). These hormones tell a boy's body when it's time to make the changes associated with <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/understanding-puberty.html/">puberty</a>, like penis and height growth, deepening voice, and growth in facial and pubic hair. Working with hormones from the pituitary gland, testosterone also tells a boy's body when it's time to make sperm in the testes.</p> <p>A <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/female-reproductive-system.html/">girl's gonads</a>, the ovaries (OH-vuh-reez), are in her pelvis. They make eggs and secrete the female hormones estrogen (ESS-truh-jen) and progesterone (pro-JESS-tuh-rone). Estrogen is involved when a girl starts <a class="kh_anchor">puberty</a>. During puberty, a girl will have breast growth, start to accumulate body fat around the hips and thighs, and have a growth spurt. Estrogen and progesterone are also involved in the regulation of a girl's <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/talk-about-menstruation.html/">menstrual cycle</a>. These hormones also play a role in pregnancy.</p> <p><strong>Pancreas:</strong> The pancreas (PAN-kree-us) makes <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/insulin.html/">insulin</a> (IN-suh-lin) and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/def-glucagon.html/">glucagon</a> (GLOO-kuh-gawn), which are hormones that control the level of <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/glucose.html/">glucose</a>, or sugar, in the blood. Insulin helps keep the body supplied with stores of energy. The body uses this stored energy for exercise and activity, and it also helps organs work as they should.</p> <h3>What Can Help Keep the Endocrine System Healthy?</h3> <p>To help keep your child's endocrine system healthy:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Get plenty of <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/exercise-wise.html/">exercise</a>.</li> <li>Eat a nutritious diet.</li> <li>Go for regular medical checkups.</li> <li>Talk to the doctor before taking any supplements or herbal treatments.</li> <li>Let the doctor know about any family history of endocrine problems, such as <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/center/diabetes-center.html/">diabetes</a> or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/thyroid-disease.html/">thyroid problems</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>When Should I Call the Doctor?</h3> <p>Let the doctor know if your child:</p> <ul> <li>drinks a lot of water but is still thirsty</li> <li>has to pee often</li> <li>has frequent belly pain or nausea</li> <li>is very tired or weak</li> <li>is gaining or losing a lot of weight</li> <li>has tremors or sweats a lot</li> <li>is <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/constipation.html/">constipated</a></li> <li>isn't <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/childs-growth.html/">growing</a> or developing as expected</li> </ul>Sistema endocrinoEl sistema endócrino juega un papel decisivo en la regulación del humor, el crecimiento y el desarrollo, la función de los tejidos y el metabolismo, así como en la función sexual y los procesos reproductivos.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/endocrine-esp.html/bb5b1408-bd3a-4d23-92cd-9787db1dc4b6
Activity: Endocrine SystemDo you know your endocrine glands? Label the parts of the endocrine system.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/bfs-esactivity.html/2c1b2b7b-fe3b-4b7d-84fd-e4925e3a48c0
Adrenal InsufficiencyAdrenal insufficiency is a condition that happens when the adrenal glands do not work as they should. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/adrenal-insufficiency.html/4e0f836e-e182-4faf-b99c-9c5914d5d505
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Blood Test: TestosteroneA testosterone blood test may be done if a boy appears to be entering puberty earlier or later than expected, or to check for damage or disease of the testes or ovaries, adrenal glands, or pituitary glands.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/test-testosterone.html/07fd8cfb-73df-4d2c-84f8-a4218911f98f
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Endocrine SystemThe endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies. It is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, metabolism, and sexual function, among other things.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/endocrine.html/7572f55a-2090-4b77-b6d1-74740e26934d
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Movie: Endocrine SystemWatch this movie about your endocrine system, the system that produces hormones.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/esmovie.html/59709fac-252f-47fe-ba77-77b43bfbd142
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Quiz: Endocrine SystemTake this quiz about the endocrine system, the system that produces hormones.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/esquiz.html/a856ec1f-5471-41df-97d2-e627376006c8
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Your Endocrine SystemThe endocrine system produces hormones, which are needed for proper body function and growth. Find out more in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/endocrine.html/e74a807b-43a3-42cf-971a-fcb15443e5e5
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