Male hypogonadism is defined as the failure of the testes to produce androgen, sperm, or both. Although the disorder is exceedingly common, its exact prevalence is uncertain.
You may be born with it or get it as you grow older. Testosterone production typically slows as we age. For example, 30% to 40% of men older than 80 years have testosterone levels that would be subnormal in younger guys.
In addition to abnormal sperm production, other conditions, including obstructive ductal disease, epididymal hostility, immunologic disorders, and erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction should be considered.
signs of hypogonadism
TWO MAIN TYPES OF HYPOGONADISM
There are two types of hypogonadism: primary and central hypogonadism.
Primary hypogonadism means that you do not have enough sex hormones in your body due to a problem in the gonads. The gonads are still receiving the message to produce hormones from the brain, but are not able to produce them.
In central hypogonadism, the problem lies in the brain. Here the hypothalamus and pituitary gland—which control the gonads—are not working properly.
What are the Causes of Hypogonadism?
Causes of primary hypogonadism include:
Central hypogonadism may be caused by:
DIAGNOSES & TESTS FOR HYPOGONADISM
Your best option as always is to see a doctor who can fully examine you.
A physician will conduct a physical exam. If he/she suspects you might have hypogonadism, there will likely be some hormone level testing, requiring a blood test to see how much FSH and LH your producing. You will also have your testosterone level tested too.
Doctors will base a diagnosis of hypogonadism on both symptoms and results of blood tests that measure testosterone levels. Because testosterone levels vary and are generally highest in the morning, blood testing is usually done early in the day.
If tests confirm you have low testosterone, further testing can determine if a testicular disorder or a pituitary abnormality is the cause. Testosterone testing also plays an important role in managing hypogonadism. This helps your doctor determine the right dosage of medication, both initially and over time.