Understanding the Pituitary Gland

About the pituitary

The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain, roughly in line with the top of the nose. It is quite small (about the size of a pea). The pituitary is often called the “master gland”, as it controls the functioning of many other endocrine glands of the body, including the thyroid, adrenals and reproductive glands. But it doesn’t work in isolation!

The hypothalamus, located just above the pituitary, serves as a communications centre for the pituitary gland by sending messages to the pituitary to stimulate pituitary hormone production to maintain the body’s internal balance. Quite incredible really!

The pituitary gland has two parts – the anterior pituitary and the posterior pituitary. They each have very separate functions, so let’s look more closely at the anterior pituitary and posterior pituitary.

Anterior pituitary

The anterior lobe of your pituitary gland makes and releases the following hormones:

Posterior pituitary

The posterior lobe of your pituitary gland stores and releases the following hormones, but your hypothalamus makes them: