Hypogonadism is a medical condition characterized by the diminished production of sex hormones by sex gonads or glands. Testes and ovaries are the sex glands that secrete testosterone or female hormones respectively. These hormones regulate sperm production and menstrual cycle. They are also responsible for secondary sex functions such as testicular development in males, breast development in females and growth of pubic hair. The symptoms of hypogonadism are the absence of menstruation, slow breast growth, loss of body hair, lack of libido and others.
Can Hypogonadism Be Treated?
Hypogonadism is usually treated with hormonal replacement therapy in the form of gel, pills or injections.
Treatment Of Male Hypogonadism
Male hypogonadism is treated by testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). It is given in the form of a gel or transdermal patches or lozenge or by injection. Oral forms of testosterone are avoided due to side effects such as upset stomach.
TRT represents some of the benefits and few side effects. It removes most of the symptoms of male hypogonadism, but not all the signs. It is contradicted in cases of erythrocytosis in men.
The benefits of testosterone replacement therapy are-
- Improvement of mood
- Increased Libido
- Increased muscle mass
- Increased bone mineral density
- Improved quality of life
The side effects of testosterone replacement therapy –
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia
- Sleep apnea
- Congestive heart failure
- Acceleration of already existing prostate cancer
Treatment Of Female Hypogonadism
- In the case of female hypogonadism, oral hormonal therapy is recommended.
- If the patient has undergone hysterectomy, she is given estrogen therapy in the form of pills or patch which is a rich source of estrogen.
- If a hysterectomy is not done in females, then a combination of estrogen and progesterone is recommended to prevent any risk of endometrial cancer as an increased level of estrogen can trigger cancer. Progesterone reduces the risk of endometrial cancer.
- If sexual desire is reduced with hypogonadism, then a small dose of testosterone is given. If a woman has menstrual irregularities or infertility, then she may receive pills containing FSH or injections of hormone human choriogonadotropin to activate ovulation.
- Hypogonadism is a condition marked by a deficiency of sex hormones in the body revealed by blood tests. Deficient hormones can lead to disturbance of sexual functions such as delayed puberty, loss of body hair, impaired development of the sex gonads, infertility, etc.
- Hypogonadism can occur at any age, its causes can be congenital or secondary to other diseases. It can develop during fetal development inside the mother’s womb or before puberty or during adulthood. Its symptoms represent themselves according to the time when it develops in the body.
There are two types of hypogonadism according to their causes-
In this condition, testicles or ovaries cannot function well to produce enough testosterone or female hormones as they do not respond to hormonal stimulation. The causes of primary hypogonadism are-
- Undescended Testes
- Liver or kidney diseases
- Exposure to radiation
- Genetic disorders, for example, Klinefelter syndrome and Turner syndrome
- Autoimmune diseases like hypoparathyroidism and Addison’s disease
- Infections like mumps that may spread to gonads
- Previous Surgery of sexual organs
- Too much absorption of iron in the body (hemochromatosis)
In secondary hypogonadism condition, the hormones that stimulate the testes to secrete testosterone are interrupted or secreted less in quantity by hypothalamus or pituitary glands. This leads to hyposecretion of testosterone. Its causes are-
- Systemic illness
- Side effects of certain medicines
- Pituitary and hypothalamic disorders
- HIV or AIDS infection
Hypogonadism is a condition in which the body is unable to produce sufficient amount of sex hormones. It can develop at any age due to a number of causes discussed above. This condition can be treated with the hormone replacement therapy as discussed above.
- Mayo Clinic – Hypogonadism: Types, Clinical Features, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention. Link
- EndocrineWeb – Hypogonadism (Low Testosterone).
- Cleveland Clinic – Hypogonadism. Link
- American Urological Association – Testosterone for Hypogonadism.
- The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism – Male Hypogonadism: An Update on Diagnosis and Treatment.