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Glands are specialized cells, groups of cells, or organs that remove materials from the blood and alter or concentrate these materials before they are secreted. These secreted substances are then either used by the body or eliminated as waste. The male testes and ovaries are two examples of glands. These glands, which produce gametes or sex cells, are commonly known as the sex glands.
The testes and ovaries are called endocrine glands because they are part of the endocrine system. Along with other endocrine glands including the pituitary gland, the thyroid, and the adrenal glands, the testes and ovaries release hormones.
The testes and ovaries are the glands that are most directly involved in sexual function. The testes produce sperm and testosterone, which encourage the penis to grow as men age, help men maintain a healthy sex drive, and promote sperm production. The female equivalent, the ovaries, produce ova, estrogen, and progesterone. They encourage breast development and help women maintain regular and healthy periods.
These aren’t the only glands that play a role in sexual function. The pituitary gland produces a range of hormones including prolactin, which can play a part in male sexual problems, and luteinizing hormone, which regulates estrogen and testosterone. The thymus secretes hormones that are important during puberty. Together these glands ensure that the body functions normally during sex and reproduction.
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