The pituitary is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. The pituitary acts as the body's “master gland”, as it sends hormone signals to other glands in the body to direct them what to do. These secondary endocrine glands include the thyroid and adrenal glands and the ovaries and testes, directing them to produce thyroid hormone, cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones.
These hormones affect metabolism, blood pressure, sexuality, reproduction and other vital body functions. The pituitary gland also produces growth hormone and prolactin for milk production.
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Last reviewed: August 2020