Male hypogonadism with a deficiency of testosterone is a relatively common disorder in clinical practice and has significant effects on the fertility, sexual function, and general health of affected men.
Hypogonadism can occur for a number of reasons, some relatively common and others rare. Certain men have hypogonadism from birth while others may develop this condition later in life. Types of hypogonadism include:
- Primary hypogonadism (testicular failure) – Low serum testosterone levels with gonadotropins (FSH, LH) above the normal range. Klinefelters, surgical removal, bilateral mumps related orchitis, toxic damage by alcohol, heavy metals or chemotherapy.
- Secondary (gonadotropin) hypogonadism – Caused by a pituitary failure or pituitary-hypothalamic injury from tumors, trauma, or radiation; characterized by low serum testosterone levels, but with gonadotropins in the normal or low range
Signs and Symptoms
- Decreased sexual desire
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Mood depression
- Regression of secondary sexual characteristics (growth and maturation of prostate, seminal vesicles, penis, and scrotum; the development of male hair distribution, including facial, pubic, chest, axillary hair; laryngeal enlargement; vocal chord thickening; alterations in body musculature; fat distribution)
Treatment and Prevention
In men with clinical symptoms of primary or secondary hypogonadism, the deficiency of testosterone
can be treated effectively with currently available preparations.