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Pituitary Gland Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Your pituitary might be small, but it's mighty! It's called the master gland because it releases many hormones that tell different parts of your body what to do. Learn how the hormones from the pituitary gland affect your body.

Pituitary Gland

Deep inside your head there's a gland so powerful that it's earned the nickname the master gland. With such a strong nickname, you'd probably think this gland is gigantic! The surprising thing is, it's no bigger than a pea. The master gland's real name is the pituitary gland. Pituitary is pronounced pi-too-uh-ter-ee. Even though it's tiny, it has a lot of responsibilities.

Your pituitary gland makes and releases hormones that tell many parts of your body how and when to do their jobs. Hormones are little messengers that carry instructions. Your pituitary gland puts these hormones into your bloodstream so that they can travel around your body in the blood.

Pituitary Gland
Pituitary Gland

Your pituitary gland sits below your brain. It hangs off your brain by a stalk from the hypothalamus, which is a collection of cells that help the pituitary gland do its jobs. The pituitary gland has a front part and a back part, which we call the anterior pituitary and the posterior pituitary.

Anterior Pituitary

The anterior pituitary is responsible for releasing many hormones. These hormones carry instructions to different parts of your body, so they know what to do, much like when your teacher hands you and your classmates' instructions, so you know how to do your work.

One hormone that comes out of the anterior pituitary is called the growth hormone. The name tells you what it does. It helps you grow! This hormone is important for elementary school kids because it helps your muscles and bones grow. When you become a teenager, you'll get a growth spurt. How much you grow will depend partly on how much growth hormone your anterior pituitary releases.

The anterior pituitary makes six hormones in all. These hormones help control some different functions in your body at different times in life. One of these hormones is important to a new mom because it helps her make milk to feed her baby. Another helps you deal with stress and fear no matter how old you are. The other anterior pituitary hormones play a role in body development, reproduction and turning the foods you eat into energy.

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