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Follicle stimulating hormone, as the name suggests, stimulates the follicles (of the ovary) to produce eggs. For this reason it is useful in fertility treatment of women whose ovaries are not producing eggs


Luteinising hormone is one of the many hormones produced by the pituitary gland. In males it is involved with the production of testosterone. In females it triggers ovulation and is involved in the production of progesterone by the ovary.

Endocrine gland

A gland which secretes hormones straight into the bloodstream rather into the blood via a tube or duct.


The discharge of blood and the lining of the uterus which happens approximately once a month. Also known as a period.


The production of milk by the mammary glands.

Pituitary gland

An endocrine gland attached to the hypothalamus which has two lobes. The posterior lobe secretes several different hormones whereas the anterior lobe just stores and releases one particular hormone.


The male sex cell or gamete. The full name is spermatazoan, abbreviated to sperm cell or sperm.

Sex Hormones - Puberty

Sex hormones are responsible for some of the most dramatic changes that occur in the body. They control puberty, egg and sperm production, pregnancy, birth and lactation (breastfeeding).



In girls, between the ages of about 10 and14, the pituitary gland produces Luteinising Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which together stimulate the production of the sex hormones by the ovaries.

The ovaries start to produce oestrogen and progesterone which begin the bodily changes that happen during puberty. The changes, known as secondary sexual characteristics, are:

  • The breasts develop
  • The hips and thighs widen
  • Pubic and underarm hair develop
  • The ovaries start to produce eggs
  • Menstruation starts
A female child and a mature woman stand side by side showing the development of female sexual characteristics. Mature breasts, broader hips and pubic hair are highlighted


In boys, between the ages of about 12 and 15, the pituitary gland produces LH and FSH, which together stimulate the production of the sex hormones.

The testes start to produce testosterone which begins the development of secondary sexual characteristics. In boys these are:
  • The voice breaks
  • Hair grows on the face and the body
  • The body becomes more muscular
  • The genitals develop
  • Sperm are produced
A male child and a mature man stand side by side showing the development of male sexual characteristics. Facial hair, broad shoulders, increased body hair, pubic hair, mature genital organs and a more muscular body are highlighted

Question 2

Which endocrine gland starts off the process of puberty?
Which two hormones, produced by this gland, stimulate the production of sex hormones?
What hormone is produced in the testes?