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Hormones

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Summary

Hormones are your body's chemical messengers. 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
  • Sexual function
  • Reproduction
  • Mood

Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, 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. Home pregnancy tests are similar - they test for pregnancy hormones in your urine.

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Hormone Health Network)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • Cortisol Test From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • new Estrogen Levels Test From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • Progesterone Test From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • new SHBG Blood Test From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • Testosterone Levels Test From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • Thyroid Tests: MedlinePlus Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish

Related Issues

  • (Hormone Health Network)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) - PDF
  • (Hormone Health Network) - PDF
  • (Hormone Health Network) Also in
  • (Hormone Health Network)

Specifics

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (Hormone Health Network)
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Teenagers

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Men

  • (Hormone Health Network) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Women

Seniors

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Patient Handouts