When we were in the car today Primus told me that she imagined what it would be like if hormones were alive. She imagined hormones hanging out in a waiting room (the pituitary gland) just waiting for the signal from the hypothalmus to know what to do and where to go. Creative!
(FYI, the following is the explanation that we read that prompted this conversation. I had originally copied it from wikipedia, but it appears that the article has now changed quite a bit.)
This is what happens during puberty:
- A gland at the bottom of the brain called the hypothalamus sends gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) into a nearby gland called the pituitary gland.
- GnRH causes cells in the pituitary gland to make two hormones, called gonadotropins. The bloodstream carries these hormones around the body.
- Gonadotropins make the gonads grow larger and start producing their own hormones, estradiol and testosterone. A girl's gonads are her ovaries, and a boy's gonads are his testicles (also called testes). Both ovaries and testicles produce estradiol and testosterone, but ovaries produce more estradiol and testicles produce more testosterone. Estradiol and testosterone are types of hormones called steroid hormones. Steroid hormones are also made by the body's two adrenal glands, which sit on top of the two kidneys.
- When the amount of estradiol and testosterone in the body increases, various parts of the body change.