Glands 3-8

3 Thyroid gland

The butterfly shaped thyroid gland1, with it´s 5 cm and 25 grams, is situated in the neck, below the Adams Apple and in front of the trachea.

It is known for it´s influence on children´s growth and development, calcium balance, for controlling the appetite and lots of metabolic processes. This is done through the production and monitoring of different hormones.

These hormones penetrate all of the body and influence and control most processing of energy in the body down to the cell level.

The thyroid gland is regulated through the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.

There are two common scenarios, where the thyroid is malfunctioning. Either it under regulates, or it over regulates. With under regulating the body and all processes slows down into a coma and the person suffers from depression. With over regulation the person is kept in high sympathetic activation with stress, anxiety and paranoia.

The malfunctioning thyroid gland may swell and become visible, a condition called goitre. Often times this is accompanied with bulging eyes. In some cases surgery is chosen and the thyroid gland is removed. Even children undergo this kind of surgery.

4 Thymus gland

The thymus gland is primarily a lymphoid organ, and as such an important part of what is called the immune system. T-cells, a type of lymphocytes, mature within the thymus.

The thymus gland is primarily active in childhood and diminishes with growing age, when it is supposed to have made it´s contribution to the immune system. Thus it may only pose problems at young ages.

5 Adrenal glands

The adrenal glands3 are situated on top of each kidney.

As the name indicates, the adrenal glands are commonly known as the producers of adrenalin and cortisol, which are hormones or neurotransmitters, that regulates visceral functions.

These two hormones are major players in the fight or flight response by directing blood flow away from digestion and towards the big muscles, which are needed for situations of danger.

The adrenal glands do however also play important parts in the metabolism through the regulation of fats, proteins and sugar. Even the mineral balance in the blood and the blood volume itself is regulated by the adrenal glands.

6 Pancreas

The pancreas4 is situated behind the stomach and between the kidneys as can be seen at the picture.

The pancreas is closely connected to the duodenum, and plays an important part in the digestion by adding juices to the duodenum. Amongst other thing it regulates the acids from the stomach using bicarbonate.

Another very important function is the regulation of blood sugar levels via hormones like insulin.

Diabetes I and II both originate in malfunction of the pancreas.

7 Ovary

The female sexual organs with the ovaries5 are situated below the digestive system.

During pregnancy the ovaries of the fetus are build and developed and with them the eggs, from which eventually a new human being can be born. Thus the number of eggs is finite, although more than big enough with approximately 1 million!

The ovaries ripen and deliver new eggs regularly throughout the woman´s fertile period. Women ripen slightly earlier than men. Their ability to bear children though comes to a halt at least around the age of 50, where as men´s ability to produce sperm is rather connected to health than age.

These tiny organs even control the regularity of the menstrual cycle through the production of hormones like oestrogen and progesterone, even testosterone to a lesser degree.

8 Testicle

The testicles are the male gonads6. They have a very special position, as they are hanging in the scrotum, a sack of skin, beneath the penis.

Like the female ovary described above, the male testicles have two distinct functions: They produce the male hormone testosterone and sperm.

Where as a female egg only is accessible some few days each 4 weeks, the male perm is kept on duty for an eventual fertilisation 24×7.

Testosterone like hormones are at work as early as the 4. week of the gestation and plays an important role for the rest of the male life.

1https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/1811_The_Thyroid_Gland.jpg

2https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Illu_thymus.jpg

3https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/Illu_adrenal_gland.jpg

4https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pancreas_and_nearby_organs.jpg

5https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/01/Ovary_nih.jpg

6https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/Male_and_female_gonads.svg