A life stage between childhood and adulthood is a crucial stage. This is the stage of changes and you attain sexual maturity. These changes lead to puberty. The transition period is called adolescence. Changes are part of growth and happen in both males and females. Comparatively, the rate of growth is much faster during adolescence. The reason for this is within us. Let’s learn about sex hormones and their role in initializing reproductive functions in details.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the endocrine glands and are secreted directly into the blood. There are many types of hormones that act on different aspects of bodily functions and processes.
Hormones at Puberty
Puberty leads to many changes in the body, both in boys and girls. Development of secondary sexual characteristics is one of the major changes that occur during adolescence. Hair growth in pubic region and height are the examples of secondary sexual characteristics. Secondary characteristics are the result of hormonal changes in the body during puberty.
Endocrine system or endocrine glands are a group of glands that secrete some chemicals into the blood. These chemicals are so influential that they can control our heartbeat. The chemicals released by endocrine glands are called hormones. These hormones are responsible for the changes during adolescence.
During adolescence, male gonad testis and female gonad ovary attain maturity. Matured gonads (sex organs) begin to secrete hormones, testosterone, and estrogen in boys and girls respectively. These hormones are called sex hormones. They are responsible for the pubertal changes and secondary sexual characteristic developments. In boys, the growth of hair on face, chest and pubic region begins. While in girls, breast and mammary glands develop. Overall secretion of sex hormones is controlled by the master gland called pituitary gland.
Sex Hormones in Initiating Reproductive Function
Endocrine glands release hormones directly into the blood. The level of a particular hormone may cause a huge difference in actions and functions of our body. Hence, hormones are secreted as per the requirements of our body. Hormones work through a feedback mechanism. The body part in which the hormone is targeted is called target organ (target site). The target site and the hormone correspond to each other; hormones are highly specific in their action.
All hormones in our body are under the control of the master gland called pituitary gland. The release of sex hormones in boys and girls are controlled by the pituitary gland. The hormones act on their target site and lead to reproductive changes in us.
During adolescence, the pituitary gland secretes certain hormones. This triggers the testis and ovary to secrete testosterone in male and estrogen in the female. These sex hormones reach their target organ and act upon them. This is responsible for the pubertal changes in adolescents.
To learn more about hormones and their functions, visit BYJU’S.