What is the pituitary gland?
The pituitary is considered an endocrine gland with a wide range of endocrine functions. These include, but are by no means an exhaustive list:
It receives instructions from the hypothalamus, the 'headmaster' endocrine gland, located in the brain.
From those instructions, the pituitary gland then releases various hormones through the bloodstream via nearby capillaries.
Some hormones act on the gonads, such as follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone (found in both men and women);
Other hormones act on the thyroid (thyroid stimulating hormone); the adrenal glands (adrenocorticotropic hormone); and on many different tissues (growth hormone, for example).
Often these pituitary hormones then 'signal' the effector organ or gland to do something else, or release a substance.