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    Hormones and the Endocrine System

    The endocrine system uses hormones to control and coordinate your body's internal metabolism energy level, reproduction, growth and development, and response to injury, stress, and environmental factors. Consider the following hormones and their role in the workings of the endocrine system:

    Where the hormone is produced

    Hormone(s) secreted

    Hormone function

    Adrenal glands


    Regulates salt, water balance, and blood pressure

    Adrenal glands

    Cortisol (corticosteroid)

    Controls key functions in the body; acts as an anti-inflammatory; maintains blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and muscle strength; regulates salt and water balance

    Pituitary gland

    Antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin)

    Affects water retention in kidneys; controls blood pressure

    Pituitary gland

    Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

    Controls production of cortisol and other steroids made by the adrenal glands.

    Pituitary gland

    Growth hormone (GH)

    Affects growth and development; stimulates protein production; affects fat distribution

    Pituitary gland

    Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)

    Controls production of sex hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men) and the production of eggs in women and sperm in men

    Pituitary gland


    Stimulates contraction of uterus and milk release in the female breast during breastfeeding. Also increases trust and bonding, especially between parents and children.

    Pituitary gland


    Initiates and maintains milk production in breasts; impacts sex hormone levels

    Pituitary gland

    Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

    Stimulates the production and secretion of thyroid hormones



    Controls blood pressure, both directly and also by regulating angiotensin levels and aldosterone production from the adrenal glands



    Affects red blood cell (RBC) production



    Raises blood sugar levels



    Lowers blood sugar levels; stimulates metabolism of glucose, protein, and fat



    Affects development of female sexual characteristics and reproductive development, important for functioning of uterus and breasts; also helps protect bone health



    Stimulates the lining of the uterus for fertilization; prepares the breasts for milk production

    Parathyroid glands

    Parathyroid hormone (PTH)

    Plays the most important role in regulating blood calcium levels

    Thyroid gland

    Thyroid hormone

    Controls metabolism; also affects growth, maturation, nervous system activity, and metabolism

    Adrenal glands


    Increases heart rate, oxygen intake, and blood flow

    Adrenal glands


    Maintains blood pressure

    Testes (testicles)


    Develops and maintains male sexual characteristics and maturation; also helps protect bone health

    Pineal gland


    Helps with sleep


    Growth hormone- releasing hormone (GHRH)

    Regulates growth hormone release in the pituitary gland


    Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)

    Regulates thyroid stimulating hormone release in the pituitary gland


    Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)

    Regulates LH/FSH production in the pituitary gland


    Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)

    Regulates adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) release in the pituitary gland


    Humoral factors

    Helps develop the immune system during puberty

    Online Medical Reviewer: Lu Cunningham
    Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
    Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Hurd MD
    Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
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