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Hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by cells in special (endocrine) glands in different parts of your body. These chemical messengers can cause changes in other parts of your body at a distance from where they are originally made, by circulating around in your blood stream.

What kind of effects do they have?

  • Some of these chemical messenger hormones have specific effects over a period of time – like causing the changes that you go through at puberty.
  • Some of the hormones are specific to boys and some to girls. Like it is female hormones which make girl’s breasts grow and male hormones which make boy’s balls (testes) and penis grow.
  • Some hormones we all have whether we are male or female – like the hormone which makes us grow.
  • Some hormones have an effect over a very short time such as the hormones which cause your heart to beat faster when you get a sudden fright.

What can go wrong?

Too much of a hormone or too little can cause different illnesses. Like if you don’t produce enough growth hormone then you may not grow to be a normal adult height.

Can lack of hormones be treated?

If you do not produce enough hormones, some hormones can be made artificially and are given to people to compensate. Other hormones can be taken from other people’s blood who have normal hormone levels, and then these can be injected into the bloodstream of the person who needs them.