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Male Hypogonadism

What is Male Hypogonadism?

Male hypogonadism is the inability of the testicles to produce testosterone, sperm or both.

Male hypogonadism also is called testosterone deficiency.

What are Testicles?

Testicles are external genital organs that are part of the male reproductive system. These two oval-shaped organs reside in a pouch of skin that hangs below the abdomen and behind the penis. The skin of pouch that contains the testicles is called the scrotum. In addition to producing the sperm cells that are necessary for reproduction, the testicles secrete the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone plays an important role in the development and maintenance of typical masculine physical characteristics.

During fetal development, testosterone is necessary to form male genital organs. During puberty, testosterone is essential for the development of secondary sexual characteristics, such as facial hair, greater muscle mass and a deeper voice. In adult males, testosterone maintains muscle mass and strength, fat distribution, bone mass, sperm production, sex drive and potency.

Testicles are also called testes.

Symptoms of Male Hypogonadism

There are many different symptoms of male hypogonadism. The symptoms depend on the stage of life at which they occur. Symptoms during fetal development will differ from symptoms during puberty and adulthood.

  • Symptoms during fetal development
    • Ambiguous genitalia
  • Symptoms during puberty
    • Decreased development of muscle mass
    • Lack of deepening of the voice
    • Impaired growth of body hair
    • Impaired growth of the penis and testicles
    • Excessive growth of the arms and legs in relation to the trunk of the body
    • Development of breast tissue
  • Symptoms during adulthood
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Infertility
    • Decrease in beard and body hair growth
    • Increase in body fat
    • Decrease in size or firmness of testicles
    • Decrease in muscle mass
    • Development of breast tissue
    • Osteoporosis

What Causes Male Hypogonadism?

Male Hypogonadism is caused by either an abnormality of the testicles or a defect in the brain or pituitary gland.

Complications of Male Hypogonadism

Some common complications of male hypogonadism are:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Hot flashes
  • Infertility
  • Depression

Can Male Hypogonadism be Treated?

Treatment of male hypogonadism depends on the cause. Some common treatments include testosterone replacement therapy and pituitary hormone therapy.

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