Hypothalamus and Hypothalamic hormones

The hypothalamus is located at the base of the brain, between the midbrain and the pituitary gland. It’s a convoluted organ of nervous tissue, approximately 2cm long and 1.5cm wide.

The hypothalamus is the basal part of the diencephalon (forebrain) and it regulates a wide spectrum of body functions.

Hypothalamus is one of two main areas of the brain that have the principal role of homeostasis, the maintenance of body temperature, and the regulation of many physiological functions.

What hormones does the hypothalamus produce?

It contains several groups of neurosecretory cells, called nuclei which produce hormones. These hormones regulate the synthesis and secretion of pituitary hormones. However, the hormones produced by the hypothalamus are of two types:

The releasing hormones (which stimulate secretion of pituitary hormones) and the inhibiting hormones (which inhibit secretions of pituitary hormones).

Releasing Hormone

The hypothalamic hormone called Gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) stimulates the pituitary synthesis and release of gonadotrophins (FSH and LH).

How do FSH and LH hormone impact fertility?

The hypothalamus is a central regulator of the reproductive system. These hormones influence everything from sperm production, to egg development, to sexual arousal.

The GnRH hormone is the male equivalent of the female fertility hormone, LH (luteinizing hormone), which increases with sexual arousal. When levels of LH start to drop, as they do during pregnancy, they become a signal for a woman to get her partner to father the next baby.

The GnRH and FSH hormones act in much the same way, except that women experience it more acutely.

Since the GnRH hormone controls both male and female fertility, if you are experiencing any signs of female fertility you may be experiencing any of the following changes:

  • Changes in your cycle
  • Difficulty becoming aroused
  • Periods lasting longer or shorter than usual
  • Nausea
  • Swollen genitals
  • Changes in desire
  • Changes in libido
  • Insufficient lubrication

Some of these symptoms may be associated with your menstrual cycle. They might be a symptom of ovulation (not ovulation itself) or it could be that your cycle has gone awry.

In order to test your fertility, you need a home pregnancy test. It’s possible to test your fertility yourself at home but I advise you to see your doctor for a confirmation test to rule out any other problems.

Why is it important to know if you have fertility issues?

It’s crucial to know if you have fertility issues as if you have these you can then work out what can be done to correct them.

Have you ever found yourself checking online for sperm counts, low sperm count test kits, or semen analyses? Do you ever feel like having sex every time you hear the words ‘sexy time’? What’s stopping you from being more proactive about the amount of sex you have? What does this mean for your relationship?

If you’re not sure whether you have any fertility issues or not, the following questions are often asked by both men and women:

Do you feel the low or high risk of suffering from fertility issues?

Are you concerned about achieving conception?

Do you have difficulty getting aroused?

Are you in a relationship or married and are struggling to conceive?

Have you ever heard of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Are you overweight?

Are you over 35?

Are you over 45?

Do you have any genital, reproductive, or digestive issues?

Have you had an operation on your genitals or genitals?

Have you experienced miscarriages?

Have you had infertility treatments?

Does it worry you that you will have a higher risk of fertility problems as you age?

Are you willing to try some of the natural treatments such as natural fertility or fertility vitamins?

Are you willing to go for more invasive treatments such as assisted reproductive technology or IVF?

If you don’t know if you have fertility issues, try asking your doctor for a diagnosis.

If they are not concerned about your fertility issues, then it’s time to find out whether you might have any. It is also important to remember that if you have fertility issues, you can take steps to improve your fertility.

Inhibiting Hormone

Somatostatin: Somatostatin from the hypothalamus inhibits the release of growth hormone (GH) from the pituitary. Somatostatin is also secreted by the delta (δ) cell of the pancreas.

These hormones originating in the hypothalamic neurons, pass through axons and are released from their nerve endings.

These hormones reach the pituitary gland through a portal circulatory system and regulate the functions of the anterior pituitary. The posterior pituitary is under the direct neural regulation of the hypothalamus but the anterior pituitary is in indirect control because of different origins so it is connected to portal circulation.

Know more from endocrinology:

What are hormones? Types of Hormones, how they work?Parathyroid Gland their hormones and disorders
Pituitary Gland – Its Hormones, functions, and disordersChemical control and coordination
Thyroid Gland and its hormonesComplete Endocrinology
Chemical control and coordination

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