The endocrine system is a complex collection of glands and organs that help to regulate various bodily functions. Their role is to produce, store and release hormones, known as chemical messengers, which go on to target specific organs and tissues in the body. Bodily functions that are controlled by the endocrine system include:

Metabolism…Respiration…Growth and development…Sexual function and reproduction

Heart rate…Blood pressure…Appetite…Sleeping and waking cycles…Body temperature

Sensory perception…

Hormones send signals to instruct the bodies tissues what they are supposed to do.


The main hormone-producing glands are:

Hypothalamus – Responsible for body temperature, hunger, moods and the release of hormones from other glands; and also controls thirst, sleep and sex drive.

Pituitary – Controls other glands and makes the hormones that trigger growth.

Pineal – Produces melatonin which affect sleep.

Thyroid – Produces hormones associated with calorie burning and heart rate.

Parathyroid – Controls the amount of calcium in the body.

Pancreas – Produces insulin that helps control blood sugar levels.

Adrenals – Produces hormones that control sex drive and stress

Ovaries – Secrete oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone (female sex hormones)

Testes – Produce the male sex hormone, testosterone, and produce sperm.

The hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and pineal gland are all located in your brain. The thyroid and parathyroid glands are in your neck. The thymus is between your lungs, the adrenals are on top of your kidneys, and the pancreas is behind your stomach. Your ovaries or testes are in the pelvic region.   

The endocrine system affects almost every organ and cell in the body. Natural cycles affect hormone levels, which fluctuate throughout your lifetime, however, sometimes hormone levels can become too high or too low which can impact your health. Even tiny changes can have a serious effect throughout the whole body. The various signs and symptoms will depend on the hormone that’s out of balance. Some of the factors that affect endocrine organs include aging, certain diseases and conditions, stress, the environment, and genetics.

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