The pituitary gland is a small pea-sized gland located in the base of the brain, a few inches behind the bridge of your nose. It is often referred to as the master gland as it controls the production of hormones in most of the endocrine glands in the body.
What is a pituitary
gland function test?
Our Pituitary Function Profile Blood Test checks the function of various hormone productions of the pituitary gland, including luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin, growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), Free Thyroxine (free T4), and Cortisol.
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Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is vital to survival given its role in functions such as immunity, regulating blood pressure and releasing insulin for blood sugar maintenance.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is produced in the pituitary gland and is important for women in the production of eggs by the ovaries and for men for men in the production of sperm. In the first half of the menstrual cycle in women, FSH stimulates the enlargement of follicles within the ovaries. Each of these follicles will help to increase oestradiol levels. One follicle will become dominant and will be released by the ovary (ovulation), after which follicle stimulating hormone levels drop during the second half of the menstrual cycle. In men, FSH acts on the seminiferous tubules of the testicles where they stimulate immature sperm cells to develop into mature sperm.
Luteinising Hormone (LH) is produced by the pituitary gland and is important for male and female fertility. In women it governs the menstrual cycle, peaking before ovulation. In men it stimulates the production of testosterone.
Growth hormone (hGH), or somatotropin, is a hormone responsible for normal body growth and development. Growth hormone also plays a role in regulating muscle mass, bone density and lipid metabolism.
Prolactin is a hormone which is produced in the pituitary gland and plays a role in reproductive health. Its primary purpose is to stimulate milk production after childbirth, and in pregnant and breastfeeding women prolactin levels can soar.
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced in the pituitary gland in order to regulate the production of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) by the thyroid gland. If thyroid hormones in the blood are low, then more TSH is produced to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more of them. If thyroid hormone levels are high, then the pituitary produces less TSH to slow the production of thyroid hormones. If TSH is too high or too low, it normally signifies that there is a problem with the thyroid gland which is causing it to under or over produce thyroid hormones. Sometimes a disorder of the pituitary gland can also cause abnormal TSH levels.
Thyroxine (T4) is one of two hormones produced by the thyroid gland. It works to speed up the rate of your metabolism. Most T4 is bound to carrier proteins in the blood - it is only the free, or unbound, T4 that is active in the body, which is measured in this test. Free T4 is the less active of the two main thyroid hormones. To have an impact on your cells it needs to convert to the more active T3 when your body needs it.
How to prepare
for your test
Prepare for your Pituitary Function Profile Blood Test by following these instructions. Please take your sample before 10am. Do not eat for 12 hours prior to your test. Drink plenty of water, if you take medication then you are allowed to take it as you would normally. Take this test two to five days after the start of your period, ideally on day three. It can be taken any time if you do not have periods. Hormonal contraception can affect this test, taking a break from this and using barrier contraception will give more accurate results. Corticosteroid medication can affect this test, ask your doctor whether to stop before testing. Record any growth hormone supplement use in your medical history.. Do not take biotin supplements for two days before this test, discuss this with your doctor if it is prescribed.
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