The pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland located at the base of the skull between the optic nerves. The pituitary gland secretes hormones. Hormones are chemicals that travel through our blood stream. The pituitary is sometimes referred to as the "master gland" as it controls hormone functions such as our temperature, thyroid activity, growth during childhood, urine production, testosterone production in males and ovulation and estrogen production in females. In effect the gland functions as our thermostat that controls all other glands that are responsible for hormone secretion. The gland is a critical part of our ability to respond to the environment most often without our knowledge.

The pituitary gland actually functions as two separate compartments an anterior portion (adenohypohysis-hormone producing) and the posterior gland (neurohypophysis). The anterior gland actually is made of separate collection of individual cells that act as functional units (it is useful to consider them as individual factories) that are dedicated to produce a specific regulatory hormone messenger or factor. These factors are secreted in response to the outside environment and the internal bodily responses to this environment. These pituitary factors then travel through a rich blood work network into the blood stream and eventually reach their specific target gland. They then stimulate the target gland to produce the appropriate type and amount of hormone so the body can respond to the environment correctly.

Similar to the cortisol factory there are additional factories:

* Growth Hormone
* Prolactin
* Gonadotropin ("sex hormones")
* Thyroid

The pituitary is responsible for the hormonal regulation of several body processes, including water retention, breast milk synthesis and release, human growth, and thyroid gland secretions.
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