The endocrine system controls the functioning of the reproductive system. The responsible endocrinal glands are known as the gonads. The gonads secrete sex hormones, which are responsible for sexual development, and the associated growth spurts in the body. They are also responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics.
The male gonads, or testes, are located in the scrotum. They secrete androgens which has testosterone that regulates the production of sperms. In males, the secondary sexual characteristics are the deepening of the voice, development of facial hair and the appearance of pubic hair. There is also an increase in strength and enlargement of muscles.
The female gonads, or ovaries, are located in the pelvis. They secrete the female hormones, which are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for secondary sexual characteristics like alteration of body fat distribution and development of breasts. These hormones regulate the menstrual cycle and also play a very important role during pregnancy.
The pituitary gland also contributes by regulating the sex hormones through the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH). The FSH and the LH ensure proper functioning of the reproductive system. The FSH stimulates the maturation of ovarian follicles in the ovaries. While in males it stimulates the maturation of seminiferous tubules. The LH helps in ovulation in females and stimulates testosterone production from Leydig cells in human males. Prolactin from the anterior pituitary lobe is responsible for the production of milk in the mammary glands in human females after childbirth.
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