Can Females Have Hypogonadism?
Ovaries represent the female gonads. The female gonads are responsible for the production of estrogen. This estrogen is responsible for various physiological functions and the absence or low levels of the hormone leads to the condition termed as female hypogonadism.
Female hypogonadism is defined as the condition wherein the capacity of the ovary is reduced, and the concentration of the hormone is lower as compared to normal level in the system. Sometimes the control center comprising pituitary and hypothalamus becomes abnormal leading to the absence of trigger required to produce hormone. The former condition is called primary hypogonadism while the latter condition is termed as secondary hypogonadism. The condition may be from birth known as congenital hypogonadism while the acquired hypogonadism develops later in life. Secondary hypogonadism is also known as central hypogonadism and characterized by the low levels or absence of luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. Further, the female hypogonadism is also divided on the basis of period of occurrence. If the hypogonadism is present from the time of birth, this condition is known as congenital female hypogonadism while if the condition is developed later in life then it is termed as acquired hypogonadism.
Causes of Female Hypogonadism
Reasons for Primary female hypogonadism:
Following are the causes of primary female hypogonadism:
- Autoimmune disease
- Severe infections
- Surgery of the reproductive organs
- Cancer of the reproductive
- Radiation exposure
- Injury to ovaries
Reasons for Secondary Female Hypogonadism
Following are the causes of secondary female hypogonadism:
- Pituitary disorders
- Inflammatory conditions
- Brain surgery
- Radiation exposure to pituitary or hypothalamus
- Tumor in pituitary
Symptoms of Female Hypogonadism
Estrogen is responsible for the secondary sexual characteristics in females. The secondary sexual characteristics includes attainment of puberty, development of breasts and initiation of menstrual cycle. Any changes in the concentration of this hormone lead to abnormal functioning of reproductive system. Following are the major symptoms related to female hypogonadism:
Lack of Menstruation: As the estrogen secreted by the ovaries are largely responsible for the initiation and periodic occurrence of menstruation, the deficiency may lead to the lack of menstruation.
Slow or Absent Breast Development: In case of congenital female hypogonadism where the levels of estrogen are very low, there is a slow or absent secondary sexual characteristic such as breast development.
Low Libido: Estrogen is the primary sex hormone in females and the reduction in the levels may cause low libido in females.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: The female hormone is also responsible for the development and release of eggs. In the absence of this hormone, the eggs are not properly developed and forms cysts in the ovary. This leads to infertility.
Hypogonadism is defined as the reduced capacity of the gonads to produce hormones. The hypogonadism refers to the disorder either in the site of hormone synthesis which is testes in males and ovaries in female or may be the abnormal condition of the control system which is pituitary hypothalamus axis. The hormones secreted by gonads are responsible for the secondary sexual characteristics. In female the hypogonadism may cause infertility and menstrual disorders. The female dominating hormone is estrogen and with ages the concentration of estrogen in the body leading to various physiological disorders. The physiological disorders are more pronounced in the menopause when there is a sudden reduction of hormonal concentration leading to condition called post-menopausal osteoporosis; however this is a normal process and thus not termed as hypogonadism.
Females may also have hypogonadism. The female hypogonadism may occur when the ovaries fail to produce the estrogen. This may be primary or central. Primary female hypogonadism is due to reduced capacity of ovaries while the central hypogonadism is the condition wherein there is no proper signal generated by the pituitary and hypothalamus for the production of estrogen.
- Mayo Clinic – Hypogonadism in women.
- Medscape – Hypogonadism in Females. Link
- Cleveland Clinic – Hypogonadism in Women.
- The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism – Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypogonadism in Women. Link
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development – Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism.
- American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists – Female Hypogonadism.