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Glands produce and release substances that play an important role in the body’s various functions.

Located throughout the body, glands are very important organs that work to produce and release crucial substances. These substances allow our bodies to perform all their necessary functions and processes. Our glands can be divided into two categories: endocrine and exocrine — read on to find out more about what they do and how they affect our overall health…

What type of glands are there?  

Glands fall into two main categories: endocrine and exocrine. These two types of glands perform different roles in the body.

The endocrine glands form part of the endocrine system and work to produce and release hormones into the bloodstream. The hormones produced by endocrine glands play a key role in many of the body’s important functions, including metabolism, growth, development, mood, and reproduction. The endocrine glands include the adrenal glands, thyroid pituitary gland, pineal gland, and hypothalamus.

The exocrine glands, on the other hand, release substances such as sweat, saliva, and tears to the outside of the body through ducts. These substances also perform important roles and help to regulate processes like body temperature. The exocrine glands include salivary, sweat, mammary, sebaceous, and lacrimal glands.

What happens when the glands don’t function properly?

All of the glands in the body perform important functions. When they don’t work as they should, one may experience symptoms affecting various parts of the body.

When the thyroid glands do not function properly, for example, one may develop a thyroid disorder. Two of the most common thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, which occur when too little or too much thyroid hormone is produced.

Some common adrenal gland disorders include Cushing syndrome, which is caused by high cortisol levels and adrenal insufficiency, which occurs when too little cortisol is produced.

Other gland-related issues that can occur include those associated with the salivary glands. Salivary gland disorders occur when the salivary glands do not function as they should, often causing insufficient production of saliva. It can then lead to oral infections, as well as pain and swelling in the face and neck.

When should you see a doctor?

If your glands are not functioning as they should, you may experience noticeable symptoms, but the specific issues you experience will depend on which glands are affected. If you notice any unusual swelling or symptoms like unexplained weight gain or weight loss, it is worth consulting with your doctor. Other possible symptoms of an endocrine-related problem include fatigue, changes to your appetite, and general weakness — if you experience any of these issues and they don’t resolve within a couple of weeks, it is advisable that you see your doctor.

It is important to understand that all of the glands affect the way that your body functions. Any problem with a gland should be treated as soon as possible in order to prevent serious health issues.

How can we help?

Associate Professor Navin Niles is an accomplished endocrine surgeon. He specialises in thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and salivary gland surgery. If you have a health concern that you would like addressed, or have already been referred for surgery, we encourage you to come in and see Associate Professor Navin Niles so that he can guide you through the treatment that is most appropriate for you.

Associate Professor Navin Niles offers a comprehensive range of services. These include hemithyroidectomy, parotidectomy, parathyroidectomy, thyroidectomy and minimal surgery. If you would like to find out more about the procedures and services that Associate Professor Navin Niles offers, please have a look here. To arrange a consultation with Associate Professor Niles, please contact us here or give us a call at (02) 9810 9839.