Your body’s cells communicate with each other through hormones. Cells and glands located throughout the body produce hormones. These hormones control functions like metabolism, appetite, and even your emotions. The system in your body that produces hormones is known as the endocrine system.
Some nerve cells make hormones. These cells are called neuroendocrine cells (neuro for nerve). When a cell grows abnormally, it forms a tumor. Tumors are classified as cancer when they can spread within an organ or to other organs. In the neuroendocrine system, the cancer is called a neuroendocrine tumor, or NET.
NETs grow slowly over the years, causing few or no symptoms until becoming large or spreading to other parts of the body. If NETs become large or spread to other parts of the body, they can release hormones like serotonin. Too much serotonin can cause symptoms that can make daily life difficult.
Serotonin is a hormone that is mainly found in your brain, gut, and blood platelets. Serotonin is also often associated with happiness and optimism. In addition to affecting your mood, serotonin helps control your digestion.
Serotonin plays an important role in helping with movement along the digestive tract. After serotonin breaks down in the body, it is normally released in the urine as a chemical known as 5-HIAA.
Certain conditions, such as Carcinoid Syndrome, can affect your body’s production and storage of serotonin. Too much serotonin production can also impact your physical and emotional well-being.
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