The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that secretes chemicals in the form of hormones that the body needs to help control the body’s organs and cells.
The main function of the hypothalamus is homeostasis, which is to ensure and maintain stable functioning of all body systems.
The hypothalamus produces hormones that control hormone production in the pituitary gland. The hormones produced have important benefits and maintain various aspects of human health.
If the function of the hypothalamus is disturbed, the balance of hormones in the body as a whole will be affected.
Various Functions of the Hypothalamus
Although small in size, the function of the hypothalamus is very important in controlling body functions, such as controlling body temperature, hunger, and thirst.
The function of the hypothalamus also plays a role in many processes in the body, including conscious or unconscious behavior, as well as endocrine functions, such as metabolism and growth and development.
The function of the hypothalamus is also related to the body’s ability to control several other things, including:
- Heart rate
- Quality and quantity of sleep
- Sex drive
- The release of hormones from many glands, including the pituitary gland.
These things can not be separated from the function of the hypothalamus which works together with the pituitary gland, by producing hormones that are important for the body.
Hormones Produced by the Hypothalamus
Important hormones secreted by the hypothalamus include:
- Antidiuretic Hormone
This hormone controls the balance of water in the body, including blood volume, which in turn affects blood pressure.
Oxytocin hormone affects the reproductive system such as childbirth, breastfeeding, and ejaculation. This hormone also controls various human behaviors such as sexual arousal, anxiety, and builds emotional bonds between mother and baby in the breastfeeding process.
Somatostatin is a hormone that works in the central nervous system, functions to inhibit and limit the production and work of other hormones, especially growth hormone (GH) and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).
- Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH )
This hormone plays a role in growth, including physical development in children and metabolism in adults, by stimulating the release of growth hormone.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
Works to stimulate the release of hormones related to reproductive functions, such as menstruation, puberty, and maturation of sexual organs.
- Corticotropin -releasing hormone (CRH )
Controls the body’s response to physical and emotional stress, and is responsible for suppressing appetite and triggering anxiety.
- Thyrotropin-releasing hormone
Hormone which will stimulate the production of thyroid hormones, to control the body’s metabolism, cardiovascular system, brain development, muscle control, as well as digestive and bone health.
Causes and Symptoms of Hypothalamic Function Disorders
The function of the hypothalamus for the body can be hampered due to a malfunction of the hypothalamus which is also known as hypothalamic dysfunction.
Other causes of hypothalamic dysfunction include:
- Infection and inflammation
- Nutritional health problems, for example due to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, or extreme weight loss.
- Genetic disorders, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, to diabetes insipidus.
- Blood vessel disorders in the brain, such as brain aneurysms and subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Symptoms of hypothalamic function disorders usually occur due to abnormal hormone performance or disturbances in brain cell communication.
It is important to maintain the function of the hypothalamus so that all body systems run normally.
You should immediately consult a doctor if you experience symptoms of metabolic disorders, including problems with growth and development and weight, so that you can get the appropriate treatment and no further complications occur.