What Is Testicular Failure With Hypogonadism?

Testicular failure refers to a condition when the testes are unable to function properly. Testes have two main functions, i.e. to produce sperms as well as hormones to support body development in males. So, when the testes are not functioning properly, then it means that there is a poor production of both sperms and hormones. The reason behind this could either be a problem with the testes or a problem with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. If the former is the main underlying problem, then the prevalent condition is referred to as primary testicular failure whereas, in the latter scenario, the resultant condition is secondary testicular failure.

What Is Testicular Failure With Hypogonadism?

What Is Hypogonadism?

Hypogonadism is a testosterone deficiency which can be as a result of testicular failure. The low levels of testosterone could be as a result of either primary or secondary testicular failure, where each phenomenon, though differently affecting the hormone levels, leads to the same results. Primary testicular failure is also known as primary hypogonadism and is described as a situation where the brain sends signals to the testes to produce sperms and hormones, but they do not respond accordingly. On the other hand, secondary testicular failure also known as secondary hypogonadism occurs when the brain is unable to send signals properly to the testes leading to low sperm and hormone levels. Testosterone plays a major role in the development of male features including deep voice, development of facial and chest hair, growth of penis and testes during puberty as well as boosting male sex drive.

What Is Testicular Failure With Hypogonadism?

Understanding Testicular Failure With Hypogonadism – Causes And Symptoms:

Testicular failure is an uncommon problem in males and depending on when (age) it occurs, it has different implications on the patient. For the two different forms of hypogonadisms associated with testicular failure, they are caused by a variety of different factors. Primary hypogonadism can be caused by either Klinefelter’s syndrome, cancer treatment, testicle(s) removal (orchiectomy), injury to the testicles, inflamed testicles (orchitis), cryptorchidism and exposure to chemicals which interfere with testosterone production. For secondary hypogonadism, it can be attributed to; genetic disorders affecting testosterone production, Kallman’s syndrome, pituitary tumors, chronic infections and their treatments, iron overload disorders such as hemochromatosis and thalassemia, and abuse of illicit drugs (opiates) and steroids.

The major physical symptoms of hypogonadism, especially in boys who have yet to undergo puberty include; enlargement of male breasts, small-sized penis, absence of facial, chest and pubic hair as well as undescended or small-sized testes. For older males, the common symptoms are infertility, reduced sex drive, growth of breasts (gynecomastia), and reduced muscle mass and strength. In some cases, the patient may experience depression and anxiety due to the effects of the condition.

Managing Testicular Failure With Hypogonadism

Treatment is usually administered depending on what is causing the ailment in question. Most cases of testicular failure with hypogonadism cannot be reversed, however, the condition can be managed to improve the symptoms and the condition altogether. One of the major ways of treating this condition involves testosterone replacement therapy which can either be administered as an injection or implant or as a gel or patch. A patient can also be treated using medication that stimulates the testes to produce sperms and testosterone as well. This is ideal especially for male patients who have hypogonadism conditions, yet they want to have their own biological families.

However, for patients with testicular failure, the treatment may not necessarily be efficient since they can still be able to make the woman pregnant. The best treatment in such a case would be to harvest sperms, if the patient is unable to ejaculate sperms, and use them for assisted reproduction such as in vitro fertilization.


Hypogonadism is a condition that is associated with impaired function of the testes (gonads). Depending on the origin of the problem, a patient can either be diagnosed with primary hypogonadism (testes are the problem) or secondary hypogonadism (the problem arises in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus). For primary hypogonadism, the patient can be treated using testosterone replacement therapy. Conversely, a patient with secondary hypogonadism can be treated with medication to stimulate the pituitary gland and hypothalamus to instigate testosterone production thus improving testosterone levels in the body.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 2, 2019

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