4.What are hormones ?

A hormone is a chemical "messenger" which is produced and then secreted or released by an endocrine gland.

There are up to 40 different hormones produced by the body blood at any one time. Some of these are only found in a very precise location in the body, others are carried by the blood stream to all parts of the body.

A hormone often affects different parts of the body in different ways. For example, the male sex hormone, testosterone, is not only responsible for sexual drive, but it also increases muscle size and encourages the growth of pubic, facial and body hair. Generally, only small quantities of hormone are needed for a specific part of your body to respond.

Take a look at Figure 2. A hormone is secreted by an endocrine glands, typically into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, the hormone circulates around the body until it hits a specific "target" or "targets". These targets can either be other endocrine glands or other parts of the body.

Hormone regulation & feedback


Normally, there is a fine balance of hormones. Too much or too little of one hormone could have an impact on the release of other hormones. If this situation arises, some of the body's systems do not work properly because of the hormonal imbalance. In order to bring the hormones back to their normal levels, your body has a way of keeping track of them and responding to any changes. It does this by means of a complex but highly efficient feedback system. 

The feedback system links some endocrine glands with others. It is perhaps easier to use the simple analogy of the thermostat, a temperature-controlling device used in an home central heating system.

A thermostat keeps the temperature of a room constant for as long as the heating is switched on. The hormone feedback system works in a similar way, except that it is not room temperature, but rather the level of a hormone which is monitored. Too little or too much of a hormone is corrected by "feeding" some of it (and sometimes other hormones) from the target back to the original endocrine gland. This "tells" the endocrine gland to release more or less of the hormone and the balance is restored.

Kallmann syndrome is the result of an hormonal imbalance, caused by the failure of the hypothalamus to secrete one particular hormone known as GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone). This has rendered the feedback mechanism ineffective, resulting in your abnormally low gonadotropin levels (otherwise known as LH and FSH). This lack of LH and FSH results in the failure to start puberty and the failure to maintain sexual function.