May 27th, 2014
Male hypogonadism is where the testes do not produce enough testosterone (mayoclinic.org). You can be born with it or it can develop due to infection or injury. The kind you are born with can effect growth and development during puberty. Later on in life it can effect sperm production. How it is treated depends upon what stage of life it occurred and what caused it. Testosterone replacement therapy may be appropriate for certain types of male hypogonadism. During development in the fetus, if not enough testosterone is produced it can impede male sex organ growth. This may cause the development of female genitalia, ambiguous genitals or underdeveloped male genitalia. During puberty male hypogonadism may decrease muscle mass development, delay the deepening of the voice, impede testicle and penis growth, obstruct the growth of body hair and breast tissue known as gynecomastia may develop. In adults hypogonadism may cause physical and reproductive side effects. These include infertility, erectile dysfunction, decreased body or facial hair, lower muscle mass, osteoporosis or bone loss and gynecomastia or the development of breast tissue. Emotional and mental changes can also occur similar to menopause in women such as lower libido, fatigue, hot flashes and trouble concentrating.
If you feel like you have this condition or even a few of the symptoms see your physician right away. Finding the cause is the first step. There are two kinds, primary and secondary hypogonadism. In the primary variety, the problem originates in the testicles where testosterone is produced. In the secondary type, the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus may be the culprit. This is the gland and the part of the brain that signals the testes to produce testosterone. Whatever the type, the results are the same, whether it be congenital hypogonadism or when someone is born with the condition, or acquired hypogonadism as the result of infection or injury. Causes for primary hyopgonadism include undescended testicles, a mumps infection, hemochromatosis or too much iron in the blood, an injury to the testicles themselves, chemo and radiation therapy. For the secondary variety, causes include pituitary disorders, Kallmann syndrome or a development of the hypothalamus considered abnormal, HIV/AIDS, chronic inflammation due to an infection, obesity, chronic illness, normal aging and certain medications. Your primary healthcare provider will give you an exam. Possible tests that may be administered include a semen analysis, hormone testing, genetic tests or even a testicular biopsy. As for treatment there are patches, gels, injections, and hormone replacement therapy. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of hypogonadism.