Hypogonadism in men is associated with low testosterone— a vital male hormone responsible for the development and maintenance of male attributes. Read on to learn about the causes of hypogonadism and how to manage its symptoms.
Male Hypogonadism Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
What is Hypogonadism?
Hypogonadism is a condition in which the sex glands, or gonads, produce little or no sex hormones. The gonads are the primary male and female reproductive organs responsible for producing hormones and eggs or sperm.
Male hypogonadism occurs when the male gonads or testes do not produce enough testosterone. Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays essential functions starting from fetal development. Testosterone’s visible effects are the onset of manly features such as deep voice, facial and body hair, and muscle strength during puberty.
Male hypogonadism may begin during fetal development or may be acquired later in adulthood. While the drop in testosterone levels is a normal part of aging, factors including injury or infection, chronic illness, stress, chemotherapy, radiation treatment for cancer, and alcoholism may accelerate this condition.
A person with primary hypogonadism does not have enough sex hormones because of a problem in the gonads. In males, this means the testes receive signals from the brain to produce testosterone, but the testes are unable to function.
Common causes include:
- Normal aging
- Undescended testicles
- Injury to the testicles
- Mumps, orchitis or mumps infection
- Hemochromatosis, a condition caused by excessive iron build up in the body
- Cancer treatment, from chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Klinefelter syndrome, a congenital abnormality characterized by two X chromosomes in addition to one Y chromosome
In secondary hypogonadism, the problem lies in your brain. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which control your gonads, do not function properly.
Several conditions cause secondary hypogonadism in males. For instance:
- Pituitary disorders
- Inflammatory diseases such as tuberculosis
- Medications such as opiate painkillers
- Kallmann’s syndrome or the abnormal development of the hypothalamus
The decrease in testosterone levels in men may also come from a wide range of causes such as physical inactivity, body fat composition, marijuana, and environmental toxins.
The baseline for serum testosterone levels is 300 nano-grams per deciliter of blood. If you have a testosterone level is less than baseline in combination with at least one of the following symptoms, you may experience hypogonadism:
- Reduced energy and stamina
- Increased irritability
- Depressed mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in cholesterol levels
- Hot flushes
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Reduced libido
- Diminished penile sensation
- Difficulty attaining orgasm
If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, consult your doctor for early diagnosis and treatment to reduce the risk associated with low testosterone.
Treatment for Male Hypogonadism
Treatments generally involve the diagnosis of low testosterone based on physical tests, symptoms, and the results of multiple blood tests since levels can fluctuate daily.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is one of the best known ways to balance testosterone levels among men. Doctors may recommend skin patches, topical gels, oral therapy, buccal tablets, implantable pellets, and intramuscular injections.
TRT’s benefits include libido and energy level increase, improvement in bone density, increased strength and muscle mass, and cardioprotective effects. Most men notice these improvements within four to six weeks, although changes such as increases in muscle mass may take three to four months.
Hypogonadism is a condition that affects males of all ages. Consult a doctor if you have symptoms. Finding the cause of low testosterone is an essential first step to getting appropriate treatment.
Here at Opt Health, we use BHRT for TRT to help men with low testosterone levels through the advancement of telemedicine. We follow a step by step process to give you a personalized treatment plan- from symptoms diagnosis to blood tests – so you can achieve the best results possible.
Are you feeling the symptoms of low testosterone levels? Let’s talk about it. Opt Health specializes in men’s health and wellness. Get personalized support and insight from top-tier physicians, available to you 24/7. Contact us today or leave a comment below.