Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. These hormones are produced in very less amounts; say nanograms (1 nanogram= 10-9 gram) or even picograms (1 picogram= 10-12 gram), but move to whole body through blood and control all the body functions. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, including
- Growth and development
- Metabolism – how your body gets energy from the foods you eat
- Digestive system
- Cardiac (Heart) function
- Sexual function
Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, pineal, thymus, adrenal glands, and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in their testes and women produce them in their ovaries.
Hormones are powerful. It takes only a tiny amount to cause big changes in cells or even your whole body. That is why too much or too little of a certain hormone can be serious. Laboratory tests can measure the hormone levels in your blood, urine, or saliva. Your health care provider may perform these tests if you have symptoms of a hormone disorder. Pregnancy urine tests are similar- they test for pregnancy hormones in your urine.