Endocrinology (Hormones & Growth)

What is the Endocrine System?

Your child’s endocrine system contains hormone-producing glands that help maintain growth and development, puberty, energy level and mood. Endocrine disorders in children are caused by too many or too few hormones circulating throughout the body. In order for your child’s body to function, everything needs to be working in harmony — that is, the glands need to secrete just the right amount of hormones throughout the blood stream.

 
Glands in the Endocrine System
The main glands of the endocrine system include:
  • thyroid
  • parathyroid
  • pituitary
  • thymus
  • adrenals
Other glands that contain endocrine tissue and secrete hormones include:
  • pancreas
  • ovaries
  • testes

The endocrine system and the nervous system work closely together. The brain sends messages and receives feedback through a “switchboard” called the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls the endocrine system). When this system isn’t working properly, hormone and growth problems can occur.

Definition: Hormones

Hormones

Hormones are chemical substances that act like messenger molecules in the body. After being made in one part of the body, they travel to other parts of the body where they help control how cells and organs do their work. For example, insulin is a hormone that's made by the beta cells in the pancreas. When it's released into the blood, insulin helps regulate how the cells of the body use glucose (a type of sugar) for energy.