By Dr. Arun Kumar Singh, Endocrinology
Male hypogonadism is a condition characterized by the low production of testosterone in the body. This is the hormone that is responsible for masculine development and growth during puberty, production of sperms etc. Hypogonadism can develop from an array of reasons such as an injury, dysfunction of the hormone, infection, age etc. While some hypogonadism can be treated with hormone replacement therapy, some require different plans altogether. Here is a brief guide about this condition and the way it is treated.
Symptoms of Male Hypogonadism
Lack of testosterone can lead to an impaired growth of sex organs. Depending on the amount of testosterone present, a male child can develop female genitals, immature male genitals or ambiguous genitals. Apart from this, some visible signs of this condition include the following:
- Decreased muscle development
- Less-than-sufficient body hair
- Lack of depth in the voice
- Development of breast tissue
- Excess growth of limbs
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hot flashes
- Decreased sex drive
Causes of Male Hypogonadism
Hypogonadism is of two types, both of which can be hereditary or originate from age, injury etc.:
- Primary – It is the result of the problems pertaining to the testicles. Some of the common causes of primary hypogonadism include:
- Klinefelter syndrome
- Mumps orchitis
- Injury to the testicles
- Undescended testicles
- Cancer treatment
- Secondary – This is a problem of the pituitary gland. Some of the common causes of secondary hypogonadism include:
- Kallmann syndrome
- Inflammatory disease such as tuberculosis, histiocytosis etc.
- Opiate pain medication
- Normal aging
- Concurrent illness
- HIV / AIDS
Diagnosis and Treatment of Male Hypogonadism:
A doctor completes a physical exam of the patient, followed by the blood level of the testosterone, if he suspects a case of male hypogonadism. If the test reveals low testosterone, the possibility of any abnormality is found out with the help of one of these:
- Genetic studies
- Hormone testing
- Testicular biopsy
- Semen analysis
- Pituitary imaging
The treatment for the patient depends on the age and the depth of the problem.
- Male hypogonadism is treated with testosterone replacement. It helps in muscular development, improve libido and erectile dysfunction.
- Fertility caused by secondary hypogonadism is treated with gonadotropin injections. And infertility caused by secondary hypogonadism is treated with assisted reproductive techniques.