Pituitary Gland Functions and How It Works

The pituitary gland is a very important one in your body, as it handles many functions that are required for your healthy day-to-day life. In fact, it is also known as the “master gland,” because it directs other organs to do their jobs. For instance, the it tells the adrenal gland whether to increase or decrease hormone production.

The pituitary gland has three distinct parts: the anterior lobe, the intermediate lobe, and the posterior lobe. All of them do something different. If one part of this cycle goes awry, your body can suffer the consequences. Read on to learn functions of each one.

What Is the Function of the Pituitary Gland?

image001Each lobe has its own functions. If any of these functions are compromised in any way, the results can range from uncomfortable to fatal. When too many or too little hormones are produced, more than a dozen different disorders of the endocrine system can result. It’s safe to say that your pituitary gland is responsible for your health and well-being.

The functions include the following:

  • Production of growth hormones
  • Regulation of the endocrine system
  • Production of hormones that affect the function of the muscles and the kidneys
  • Production of hormones that control other endocrine glands
  • Storage of hormones that are produced by the hypothalamus

Function of Different Parts of Pituitary Gland

The gland has three sections, and each perform different functions.

Anterior Pituitary

Hormone Released

Main Target


Follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH)

Ovaries in Women

This hormone triggers ovulation in women to produce egg for fertilization. It also increases estrogen in women.

Growth hormones


All cells of the body

This hormone helps control the amount of fat and muscles in the body, helps injuries heal, supports the immune system and helps children to grow.

Adrenocorticotrophic hormones (ACTH)

Adrenal glands

This directs the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is vital in blood pressure control, blood sugar regulation and boosting your metabolism.


Breast tissue

This hormone directs the milk glands in the breast to produce breast milk, allowing mothers to feed their children during the first vital months of life.

Thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH)

Thyroid gland

These hormones play a strong role in many body functions, including the heart rate, metabolism and even helping regulate your temperature.

Intermediate Pituitary

Hormone Released

Main Target


Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH)

Brain and skin

This hormone affects the skin, helping determine whether it becomes darker over time; it can also affect the nerve endings in the brain. It might also affect our sex drive and appetite.

Posterior Pituitary

Hormone Released

Main Target



Womb and mammary glands

This hormone can affect women at different times, but especially during and after childbirth. It can cause contractions during labor, bringing about birth. It can also lead to milk production, as well as other things that are necessary to help a mother bond with her child.

Vasopressin/ Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)

Kidneys and blood vessels

Also known as an antidiuretic hormone, this helps regulate the amount of water in the body. This can be helpful for blood pressure, as well as helping ensure your kidneys continue to function at their optimum level.

This video can give you many more in-depth answers to what it does and thus answer the question what is the function of the pituitary gland:

How does It Work?

This video can give you more information on the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and how the two of them work in tandem to regulate your bodily functions, then read on for more details:

The pituitary gland works in concert with your hypothalamus to keep your body running smoothly. Your hypothalamus is constantly receiving information about your body and the world around you – how cold or warm you are, what your body is doing, what your internal organs are doing, and so much more. Your hypothalamus responds to that by regulating whatever needs to be done in your body at any given time. For example, if you are too cold, your hypothalamus can trigger the bodily functions you need to become warm again.

Much of this regulation is controlled by hormones. Your hypothalamus creates hormones which are then used to communicate with the pituitary gland. From there, it figures out which hormones need to be created or released, and does so instantaneously. Those hormones are dumped into the bloodstream, where they travel to where they need to be in your body. This often means that the hormones go to yet another gland, one of the many of the endocrine system. From there, even more hormones are introduced into your body.

In some cases, the hormones might tell certain organs to stop producing certain hormones. For example, if you have too much of one hormone, your endocrine glands might be told by the pituitary gland to put a hold on what they are producing. This allows your body to regulate the hormones that are coursing through it.

The result of all these hormones is that your body regulates without your ever being aware of it. For instance, consider ovulation. Many different hormones go into triggering egg production and ovulation, but you are never aware of any of these. The hormones work together seamlessly to create this event month after month. Other things, such as temperature regulation, you rarely notice.

What is the function of the pituitary gland? You have a better idea by now!

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