Your pituitary gland is a small organ that sits underneath your brain and behind the bridge of your nose. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the ‘master gland’ because the hormones it produces control so many different processes in the body. Many of these processes are “involuntary”, meaning your body performs them without you even knowing it. For example, the pituitary gland makes sure that your heart is always beating throughout your entire life. Your heart is able to keep going without you having to consciously think about it!
Which hormones are produced by my pituitary gland?
Some of the major hormones that your pituitary gland produces are:
- Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) – controls how fast your thyroid produces “thyroid hormones”. These thyroid hormones are primarily responsible for controlling your metabolism.
- Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) – responsible for controlling the production of hormones from the ovaries and the testicles.
- The ovaries primarily produce estrogen and progesterone.
- The testicles primarily produce testosterone.
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH) – another important fertility-related hormone that plays different roles in men and women.
- In women, LH has a large impact on ovulation.
- In men, LH initiates testosterone production from the testicles.
- Prolactin – primarily responsible for mammary glands (glands that can make milk) within breast tissue.
What does this have to do with my fertility?
TSH, FSH, LH, and prolactin each play a significant role in your overall health and fertility.
- TSH – the amount of hormones produced by your thyroid is controlled by TSH. If your thyroid gland produces too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) thyroid hormones, it can impact your menstrual cycle. For example, it is common for people with untreated hypothyroidism to have difficulty releasing an egg from their ovaries (ovulate). But don’t worry! When treated, these symptoms can usually be corrected.
- FSH & LH – these hormones work together to ensure that your menstrual cycle is consistent each month!
- Prolactin – optimal levels of prolactin allow your body to function properly. High levels of prolactin are useful during pregnancy, but need to be kept in check otherwise.
How do I know if I have an issue with my pituitary gland?
A blood test can help determine if there are issues with how your pituitary gland is performing. Menstrual irregularities and sexual disfunction are common symptoms of pituitary gland conditions.
Even if you do not have symptoms, it’s a good idea to be proactive and address possible conditions that do not show symptoms. For example, hypothyroidism is notorious for not showing noticeable symptoms. Our at-home hormone test kits include the most accurate collection technology on the market, so you can have confidence in your results.