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What is Male Hypogonadism

What is Male Hypogonadism

By Mike Kocsis | 3 minutes read | Last updated: October 28, 2022
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  • Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos

    Evidence Based Research

    Sometimes referred to as testosterone deficiency, male hypogonadism is a condition that occurs when the testes are not able to produce normal levels of testosterone and/or sperm.

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    What are the Causes of Male Hypogonadism

    It is possible to be born with male hypogonadism but it can also develop later in life as the result of an infection, injury or disease.

    In cases of primary hypogonadism, the testicles will not respond to hormone stimulation. Primary hypogonadism can be caused by a congenital disorder, trauma to the testes, mumps, tumours, chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

    Cases of secondary hypogonadism are caused by a disease interfering with either the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, which are both glands that release hormones that will stimulate the production of testosterone in the testes. Secondary hypogonadism can be caused by:

    • systemic illness
    • stress
    • malnutrition
    • cirrhosis of the liver
    • morbid obesity
    • toxins from heavy metals and alcohol
    • certain medications, including anabolic steroids

    Andropause, also known as male menopause, is a term sometimes used to describe the natural decrease in testosterone levels as a direct result of the ageing process. Testosterone in males typically increases until the age of 17. Levels then begin to decline in males over 40 at a rate of between 1.2 and 2% per year. The results of one study in 2012 indicated that around 20% of men over the age of 60 and 50% of men over the age of 80 present low levels of serum testosterone.

     

    What are the Symptoms?

    Hypogonadism can cause a wide range of different symptoms. The form and the severity of these symptoms will depend largely on:

    • Whether onset was pre- or post-puberty
    • The degree of the testosterone deficiency
    • The length of time a person has been experiencing symptoms

     

    If hypogonadism occurs pre-puberty, puberty will not progress normally. Adolescents and young adults will typically appear younger than their age and might also:

    • Lack facial hair
    • Have small genitalia
    • Notice that their voice does not break and deepen
    • Experience difficulties gaining muscle mass

    In some cases, puberty-onset male hypogonadism can also lead to:

    • Enlarged breasts (gynaecomastia)
    • Small testicles
    • Impaired sexual development

     

    If hypogonadism occurs in adulthood, the symptoms can include:

     

    How is it Diagnosed?

    Many of the symptoms of male hypogonadism can have multiple different causes, which is why the diagnosis can sometimes be delayed or missed initially.

    Biochemical testing will be performed to accurately assess testosterone levels in the blood. As testosterone levels can fluctuate throughout the day, this testing is usually performed in the morning and before any food has been consumed.

    How is it Treated?

    Testosterone replacement therapies can be used to successfully treat male hypogonadism. The precise form of treatment will vary from patient to patient, but the aim is ultimately to raise the amount of testosterone in the blood to a normal level.

    If you are displaying any symptoms of male hypogonadism, visiting your doctor to discuss your concerns and to obtain an official diagnosis is an important first step towards getting the appropriate treatment for your condition.

     

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    Evidence Based Research

    This article has been researched and written based on scientific evidence and fact sheets that have then been crossed checked by our team of doctors and subject matter experts.

    References, sources and studies used alongside our own in-house research have been cited below, most of which contain external clickable links to reviewed scientific paper that contain date stamped evidence.

    Our team of healthcare experts and GMC registered doctors are licensed to UK GMC standards. We strive to provide you with the latest evidence based, researched articles that are unbiased, honest and provide you with accurate insights, statistics and helpful information on the discussed topic to ensure you gain a better understanding of the subject. You can read more about our Editorial Process by clicking here.

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    About the Author: Mike Kocsis

    Mike KocsisMike Kocsis has an MBA with a focus on healthcare administration and is an entrepreneur and medical case manager for Balance My Hormones Ltd which offers medical services in the UK and Europe. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector, much of that working with people who have hormone imbalances. Mike has appeared on podcasts and radio and is an expert speaker on the subject of hormone imbalance. He specialises in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and has helped thousands of people suffering from hormone imbalances recover and regain control of their lives. You can follow him on LinkedIn and on the Balance My Hormones YouTube Channel.

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