Hormones

Hormones are produced by the body to transmit instruction from one area to another. The same hormones are produced in both men and women, but in different amounts. It helps to understand how the reproductive hormones react within the body. They play an important role in fertility.

A small area located within the midportion of the brain is known as the hypothalamus; nearby lies a grape-sized gland called the pituitary gland. Together these two structures control the production and release of the body's hormones.

The hypothalamus monitors the hormone levels in the bloodstream. Just like all of the hormones within the body, the reproductive hormones are constantly being monitored and adjusted depending on your physical and emotional demands. The hypothalamus sort of acts like the CEO of a corporation, just sitting by and monitoring what's going on and barking orders from time to time. The hypothalamus will send a message in the form of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to the pituitary gland. In this example, the pituitary gland is the worker. It must calculate which hormones are needed and the required amounts of each and release this message in the form of gonadotropins. The specific names of these gonadotropins are follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). As discussed in Chapter 1, in men, FSH stimulates sperm production and LH stimulates the testicles to release testosterone.

Unlike in the female, the production of these hormones does not fluctuate on a monthly cycle, and male hormone levels remain relatively constant. These hormones play a critical role in a man's fertility. Men need proper levels of FSH, LH, and testosterone for healthy sperm production.

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