What are the functions of the adrenal glands in men and women, the causes and symptoms of their dysfunction

The adrenal glands are a paired glandular organ and are located directly above the kidneys. These glands perform the most important functions in the body, so if their activity is disrupted, failures occur throughout the body.

Adrenal functions

Adrenal glands are divided into left and right, with the left one having a semilunar shape and the right one being triangular. Each adrenal gland consists of two parts: a brain substance and a cortical layer. Each part has its own specific functions, which are generally aimed at protecting against various stresses.

When the body gets into a stressful situation, it will not be able to work properly. The exhaustion of the body will begin, there will be fear and anxiety, a constant feeling of fatigue. Under the influence of hormonal substances produced by the adrenal glands, such stress symptoms are eliminated. Consider what function the adrenal glands perform.

The main adrenal functions include:

  • Produce hormones;
  • Support of body stress resistance;
  • Development of mediators;
  • Accelerate recovery from stress;
  • Participation in metabolism, etc.

Adrenal glands are capable of increasing in size, causing an increase in hormonal production. Usually a similar picture is observed in cases when stress is of a lasting nature.

Adrenal structure

Brain substance

The cerebral adrenal gland in the human body is responsible for the production of epinephrine or epinephrine, which controls the pulse and pressure. This hormone is released into the blood when the body is in a state of stress. If the person is calm, then epinephrine is produced in minimal amounts. In addition, the functions of the adrenaline hormone carry a neuro-impulse transmission, in the process of which epinephrine acts as a mediator.

Adrenal cortex

Approximately 90% of the glandular layer occupies a cortical substance, which itself is divided into a reticular, bundle and glomerular zone.

Each layer performs a certain function, what each layer has its own:

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  • The mesh zone is responsible for the production of androgens - sex hormones, which are responsible for secondary sexual characteristics.
  • In the fascicle there is a secretion of glucocorticosteroids, which regulate fatty, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. These hormonal substances are closely interrelated with insulin and catecholamines. These hormones reduce the immune response, contribute to the suppression of inflammation and the expansion of the bronchi.
  • The glomerular zone controls the organic mineral metabolism. This layer produces hormonal substances like corticosterone and aldosterone. Due to the action of these substances, the kidney tubules are functioned, which eliminates the fluid retention in the body. In addition, these hormones retain normal blood pressure.

In general, without the adrenal glands, a man could not control his emotions and react adequately to certain situations.

Functions of the bark and adrenal medulla

Features in men and women

Adrenals, regardless of gender, produce both male and female sex hormones. The female body from these glands receives estrogen and progesterone hormones, as well as testosterone, which although considered a male hormone, but is necessary for women.

Every month a woman prepares to take a fertilized egg - the endometrium grows, the uterine blood supply improves, etc. Everything happens thanks to the adrenal glands.

Men through the adrenal glands get the necessary testosterone and estrogen. The latter in certain quantities is necessary for men and they get it from the adrenals. The androgens produced by these glands determine the development of the musculature and skeleton according to the male type, provides spermatogenesis and hairiness of the body and face.

In general, both in the male and female body, the adrenal glands have similar functions that are reduced to ensuring the development and normal functioning of the body in full accordance with its sex.

Adrenal Dysfunction

Adrenal disorders cause hormonal failures. As a result:

  1. The amount of hormonal substances produced by the adrenal glands is drastically reduced or increased;
  2. Violated fat metabolism, which is fraught with the development of diabetes and obesity;
  3. The pathology of Itenko-Cushing develops, which is caused by excessive production of corticosteroids;
  4. Addison's disease is closely related to chronic failures in adrenal activity. It manifests itself in the form of adrenal insufficiency of primary and secondary type.

Reasons for

Decreased adrenal function occurs for various reasons:

  • Adrenal infections of syphilitic, tubercular origin, etc.;
  • Prolonged stress and depression;
  • Functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and liver;
  • Disturbances in the pituitary and hypothalamic activity;
  • If insulin was given;
  • Admission or abrupt withdrawal of hormonal drugs;
  • Irradiation;
  • Trauma in childbirth in infants;
  • Autoimmune pathologies that destroy the adrenal gland tissue. Such diseases include HIV, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc.;
  • Malignant or benign tumor processes, cystic formations in the adrenal gland;
  • Unhealthy diet, in which there is a deficit of enzymes that negatively affect secretory activity;
  • Heredity;
  • Adrenal infarction;
  • Vascular pathologies;
  • Drug or toxicity;
  • Complex surgical operation;Menopause or pregnancy.

Symptomatic picture

Suddenly, weight begins to gain, although the level of physical activity remains the same, and the nutrition of the correct or unexpected termination of the growth of the mustache in men, or the appearance of a beard in a woman - all this may indicate violations of adrenal activity.

Most often, adrenal suppression has such symptoms:

  1. Excessive tendency to allergies and lowering of pain threshold;
  2. Frequent awakenings at night and difficulty falling asleep;
  3. Chronic fatigue and lack of appetite, the patient is indifferent to what is happening around;
  4. Low pressure and memory loss;
  5. Unreasonable aggression and excessive sensitivity to the words of others;
  6. Frequent diarrhea, nausea-vomiting syndrome, frequent urination;
  7. Memory impairment and headaches, confusion in the mind;
  8. Painful sensations in the abdominal area or in the joint tissues, unreasonably cold limbs;
  9. From the mouth it smells of acetone, skin hyperpigmentation is observed;
  10. Loss of libido, feminization in men and women's affection;
  11. Sexual development disorders.


Adrenal pathologies or functional disorders are identified through a variety of diagnostic procedures and tests. As a rule, ultrasound diagnostics, laboratory tests for adrenal hormones are used to detect abnormalities. In addition, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography is used. Then the doctor collects the data into a single clinical picture and determines the presence of violations, if any.

You can check the adrenal activity yourself.

  • Measure BP in a supine position, and after 5 minutes - in a standing position. Compare the data. If the standing position is lower than the pressure, then there is a possibility of functional adrenal disorders.
  • Ask someone to shine a bright lantern on you. The appearance of pronounced discomfort indicates a weak work of the gland;
  • In a dark room, light it to your side for about a minute. In this case, watch the pupils. When the body functions normally, the pupils narrow for the entire experiment, and if the adrenal glands function poorly, the pupils will begin to expand in about half a minute, or begin to pulsate, tending to narrow.

Therefore, the final diagnosis should still be determined by a qualified doctor. Any pathology of the adrenal glands can be dangerous, so mandatory treatment is needed, aimed at recovery, which can be both operational and conservative-medicamentous.

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