How Does The Pituitary Gland Affect The Height of A Child?

by   |   Jun 15, 2022

The pituitary gland is known as a vital gland in the body, but many people when asked do not know what it is or where it is located. Understanding the role and position of the pituitary gland will help protect your health as well as prevent and deal with many diseases.

Do not hesitate anymore! Read this post and get answers now!

What is the pituitary gland?

The pituitary gland is quite small, about the size of a pea, and is located in a bony hollow, just behind the bridge of your nose. It is attached to the base of your brain via a thin stalk. It is often called the master gland as it regulates other hormone glands in the body, like the adrenals and thyroid, the testicles, and ovaries.

The pituitary gland is separated into two parts, including the anterior pituitary gland and the posterior pituitary gland.

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Anterior lobe

It is made of different kinds of cells that create and release various types of hormones.

  • Growth hormone helps control growth and physical development. It might trigger growth in nearly all of the tissues. Its main targets are bones and muscles.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone stimulates the thyroid to release thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland and the hormones it creates are vital for metabolism.
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone activates the adrenal glands to release cortisol and other hormones.
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone comprises estrogen secretion and egg cell production in women. It is also necessary for the production of sperm cells in men.
  • Luteinizing hormone plays a vital role in producing estrogen in women and testosterone in men.
  • Prolactin helps breastfeeding women produce milk.
  • Endorphins offer pain-relieving properties and are known to be linked to the “pleasure centers” of the brain.
  • Enkephalins are closely connected to endorphins and offer similar pain-relieving effects.
  • Beta-melanocyte-stimulating hormone triggers increased pigmentation of the skin regarding exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Posterior lobe

This lobe also secretes hormones. But these hormones are produced in the hypothalamus and then stored in the posterior lobe until they are released.

  • Vasopressin, also called the antidiuretic hormone, supports the body keeping water and preventing dehydration.
  • Oxytocin triggers the release of breast milk. Also, it activates the reduction of the uterus during labor.

What is the role of the pituitary gland in height growth?

As mentioned above, the pituitary gland helps produce different types of hormones, including growth hormones. The roles of growth hormones consist of affecting height and supporting building bones and muscles.

Natural levels of growth hormones change during the day; for instance, they might rise when you exercise. Also, the levels of growth hormone increase during childhood and maximum during puberty. In this period of development, growth hormone boosts the growth of bone and cartilage. This hormone controls the fat, tissue, muscle, and bone in the body and other aspects of the metabolism like blood sugar levels and insulin action.

Keep in mind that growth hormone levels naturally reduce from middle age forwards.

What happens if the pituitary gland stops producing growth hormones?

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a condition caused by deficient amounts of growth hormone in the body. Children who lack growth hormones have strangely short stature with normal body proportions. GHD might be present at birth or develop later.

The condition happens if the pituitary gland creates too little growth hormone. It might also be the outcome of genetic imperfections, serious brain injury, or being born without a pituitary gland. Sometimes, GHD might be related to lower levels of other hormones, like thyrotropes, vasopressin, or adrenocorticotropic hormone.

Below are some symptoms that are related to GHD, including:

  • Slow growth or lack of growth
  • Short stature, under the fifth percentile, compared to other children of the same age and gender.
  • Lack or delayed sexual growth during puberty
  • Headaches

Also, symptoms of other pituitary hormone deficiencies might coexist with GHD, including:

  • Lack or delayed sexual growth during puberty
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination and a high amount of urine
  • Facial irregularities in a small group of children with GHD

It should be noted that these symptoms might be like other health conditions. Make sure your children see a pediatric endocrinologist for exact treatment. The doctor will consider age, overall health, and other factors of children before giving any advising treatment.

Treatment is performed with daily injections of synthetic growth hormone. Effects are noticed as soon as 3 to 4 months after treatment begins. And the treatment might last for years, often until late puberty when growing is done. The sooner the treatment is begun, the better opportunities children will have a usual or near-usual adult height to their family pattern.

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How to stimulate the pituitary gland naturally?

The pituitary gland is one of the most essential parts of the body because it produces different kinds of hormones. When it is performing on target, you will feel better and more energized. So, this part here will suggest something simple to give this gland a kickstart.

Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet

A well-balanced diet is good not only for your health but also for your hormones. For instance, malnourished children might not produce sufficient growth hormones to satisfy growth goals for their age group.

Below include general tips for healthy eating that you should follow.

  • Consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables because they are great sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibers.
  • Select good sources of fats, such as those include monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Increase your protein intake because your pituitary gland needs it as fuel for hormone production.
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains.
  • Drink enough water daily (at least 4 to 6 cups).

Sleep well

The pituitary gland peaks in its production of hormones at night. That is why you need to get enough sleep to let the gland work properly. Also, it helps reduce the levels of cortisol, which support the gland to perform better. Remember not to consume caffeine late in the day or use phones or iPad too much before bed, or it might interrupt your sleep.

Do exercise

Getting your heart rate up makes your body perform more effectively and balances the production of hormones. Instead of joining in high-intensity exercises, do normal exercises to raise your heart rate for about 30 minutes, three times per week. Also, you can try some yoga poses to promote blood flow to the pituitary gland.

Lower sugar intake

Watch out for sugary foods and foods with high hidden sugar levels. Consuming too much sugar and refined carbs increases insulin levels that might hinder the production of growth hormones and even cause inflammation in the nervous system.

In short

Your pituitary might be a small yet powerful gland. Yes, it plays a critical role in maintaining bodily functions, such as growth, metabolism, reproduction, lactation, and so on. But if you experience any concerning symptoms, it is necessary to talk to your physician so that they can assess your health and offer suitable treatment.

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