Hypogonadism in Men: Causes and Symptoms

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(Newswire.net — May 13, 2022) — Hypogonadism in men, also known as low testosterone levels, can cause several undesirable symptoms in both physical and mental health. Fortunately, it is possible to treat hypogonadism and get back on track with your life. Learn about the causes of hypogonadism and some of the most common symptoms, including erectile dysfunction, lethargy, depression, loss of libido, and more, here.

What is hypogonadism?

Hypogonadism is a condition in which a man’s testicles do not produce enough of certain hormones. Hypogonadism in men can cause problems with sexual development, bone strength, body composition, fertility, energy levels, mood, and emotions. In most cases (85%), hypogonadism occurs because of a problem that was present at birth (congenital), meaning it is present from birth but may not become apparent until later in life. Possible congenital issues include Klinefelter’s syndrome (47XXY), Leydig cell hypoplasia, or other hormonal syndromes.

Types of Hypogonadism

Primary hypogonadism is a dysfunction of the testes that occurs when they fail to produce normal levels of testosterone. This condition can be caused by genetics, injury, or disease. Secondary hypogonadism is a dysfunction of both testes and pituitary glands that occurs when either one fails to produce normal levels of hormones. This condition can be caused by malnutrition, pituitary tumors, or chronic disease (such as diabetes). Primary hypogonadism may also lead to secondary hypogonadism due to a feedback loop where testosterone decreases Luteinizing hormone secretion which decreases gonadal steroidogenesis by gonads.

Causes of low testosterone levels

The most common cause of primary male hypogonadism (low testosterone levels) is a testicular failure, which occurs when body cells fail to produce normal amounts of testosterone. Testosterone production can also be interrupted by diseases that damage parts of the male reproductive system such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Hypogonadism can also be caused by malnutrition, a condition that leads to hormonal imbalances due to insufficient nutrients from food. Diseases affecting pituitary gland function are often linked with hypogonadism as well. These include disorders like Cushing’s syndrome, prolactinoma, and acromegaly.

Other causes of hypogonadism include:

  • Klinefelter syndrome (the most common chromosomal disorder) 
  • Stress or overexertion, as seen with severe trauma, or major surgery 
  • Medications that interfere with hormone production such as steroids 
  • Acromegaly (excessive growth hormone output) 
  • Pituitary adenoma(enlargement of a noncancerous tumor on your pituitary gland)
  • Drug or alcohol abuse 
  • Wernicke encephalopathy (a rare condition that damages your nervous system) 
  • Liver disease 
  • Severe burns or skin grafts to your face, chest, or groin 
  • Pituitary tumors are caused by certain cancers like lymphoma or leukemia. 

Symptoms of low testosterone levels

During puberty, a spike in testosterone usually kicks off a boy’s journey into manhood. However, that’s not true for everyone; some males experience what is called hypogonadism, or low levels of testosterone during puberty. Symptoms of low testosterone include thinning hair on your body, reduced muscle mass and strength, infertility (inability to impregnate), low sex drive, erectile dysfunction (impotence), poor concentration, testicular shrinkage, and breast growth. 

Hypogonadism should be considered an illness because it can be treated with hormones and drugs that restore normal levels of testosterone. Hormone replacement therapy involves giving patients doses of natural or synthetic testosterone by mouth or injection.

Other signs of hypogonadism include: 

  • Delayed puberty in boys (hypogonadism in young men)
  • Decreased sex drive (libido) 
  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Loss of body hair and muscle mass 
  • Small testicles or penis (testes) 
  • Low sperm count or complete infertility; less commonly, an enlarged prostate, heart disease, abnormal liver function tests.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

The path to hypogonadism relief is a quick one. You’ll want to visit your doctor or naturopath before starting treatment, especially if you’re diabetic or have liver problems, but chances are that with just a few tests your physician will be able to write you a prescription for testosterone injections (or pellets), topical gels, or replacement testosterone patches. 

Benefits of testosterone therapy include: 

  • Increased bone density 
  • Reduced fat mass 
  • Stronger bones and muscles 
  • Normal erections 

Although hypogonadism treatment is painless, there are several potential side effects to be aware of. These include acne, mood swings, reduced fertility, liver damage, sleep apnea, higher cholesterol levels (especially if you already have high cholesterol), increased red blood cell count, and increased risk of heart disease. In addition to blood tests—which are simple enough—it’s a good idea to see your doctor for an examination before beginning treatment.

How common is low testosterone?

Low testosterone, also known as male hypogonadism, is a condition where your body doesn’t produce enough testosterone. Low T can affect your sex drive, energy level, mood, and even your ability to focus. 

While low T is often thought of as an older man’s problem, younger men can have it too—and it’s something you should talk to your doctor about if you think you might be at risk. Like high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, low T affects people differently and there are several things that can cause it. But many doctors agree that being overweight or obese contributes significantly to low T in men.

Can low testosterone be prevented?

While testicular hypogonadism can’t be prevented, there are things you can do to protect yourself from developing a problem. The most important step is staying active. If you’re older than 40, try doing aerobic exercises like jogging or biking at least three times a week for 30 minutes. 

Strength training with weights also helps maintain bone density. As a man ages, his estrogen levels tend to rise, making him more susceptible to osteoporosis (bone loss). You can help keep your estrogen in check by including phytoestrogens in your diets, such as soy-based foods or flaxseeds. A higher intake of fruits and vegetables can also help offset low testosterone levels; these foods contain antioxidants that fight free radicals linked to hormone imbalances.

How is Hypogonadism in men diagnosed?

Hypogonadism can be diagnosed by measuring serum levels of testosterone. In hypogonadal males, serum total testosterone is less than 300 ng/dL, and free testosterone is less than 12 ng/dL. 

Confirmation can be obtained with a stimulation test using gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) or clomiphene citrate, which will raise blood levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) if the pituitary function is normal. Failure to suppress LH indicates primary hypogonadism. Males with secondary hypogonadism have low testosterone caused by an organic disorder that results in a failure to produce sex hormones.

Source: Renew Vitality https://www.vitalityhrt.com/