Hypogonadism In Males & Females: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Hypogonadism is a condition wherein the reproductive glands synthesize very less amount of hormones that are needed for reproduction. These glands are the testicles in men and ovaries in women. Hormones released by the gonads control secondary characteristics of maturity, such as the development of testes in men, development of mammary glands in women and the development of pubic hair growth.

Reproductive hormones have a vital role to play in the manufacture of sperms and menstrual cycle. By and large, most cases do respond well to suitable treatment.

There are 2 categories of hypogonadism – Primary hypogonadism and Secondary hypogonadism.

  • In primary hypogonadism, you fail to have adequate reproductive hormones because of a disorder in the gonads. These gonads namely testes and ovaries receive messages to manufacture hormones from the brain; however, they cannot manufacture them.
  • In secondary hypogonadism, the disorder lies in the brain. The hypothalamus and pituitary that govern the gonads, are not working as they should.

Causes Of Primary And Secondary Hypogonadism

The causes of primary hypogonadism are:

  • Genetic defects, such as Turner syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome.
  • Autoimmune conditions, such as hypo-parathyroidism and Addison’s disease.
  • Kidney and liver disorders
  • Severe infections
  • Undescended testes
  • Radiation exposure
  • Surgery on the gonads

The causes for secondary hypogonadism are:

  • Pituitary gland dysfunction.
  • Genetic conditions, such as Kallmann syndrome.
  • HIV
  • Inflammatory conditions – T.B., sarcoidosis, and histiocytosis.
  • Long term use of steroids.
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Obesity
  • Nutritional inadequacies
  • Brain surgery
  • Radiation exposure
  • Injury to the brain
  • Tumor in the pituitary

Symptoms Of Hypogonadism In Adults

Symptoms in women:

  • Amenorrhea
  • Loss of body hair
  • Hot flashes
  • Infertility
  • Underdeveloped mammary glands.
  • Absent desire for copulation.

Symptoms in men:

  • Muscle loss
  • Loss of body hair
  • Poor concentration
  • Infertility
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Abnormal growth of mammary glands.
  • Improper growth of external genital organs in men.
  • No desire for coition.

Treatment For Hypogonadism In Males And Females

Treatment for Hypogonadism in Women

The treatment regimen involves increasing the amount of female gonadal hormones in the body. The first line of treatment will be estrogen therapy in case you have had a hysterectomy.

You will be administered a patch or a pill for the estrogen hormone.

On the other hand, increased levels of estrogen raise your risk of endometrial cancer; hence you will be given a combination of estrogen and progesterone, especially, if you haven’t had a hysterectomy. Progesterone helps decrease the risk of endometrial cancer if you’re taking estrogen.

Other treatments target specific symptoms in the individual. If you have a reduced libido, you will be given low doses of testosterone. In case of menstrual irregularities and infertility, your health care provider will give you injections of the hormone human choriogonadotropin and / or FSH pills to set off ovulation.

Treatment for Hypogonadism in Men

For men, health care providers advise testosterone replacement therapy for the treatment of hypogonadism. You will be given testosterone replacement therapy via patch, injections, gel or lozenges. Injections of a gonadotropin releasing hormone may help prompt puberty and help increase sperm count.

Treatment for Hypogonadism in Men and Women

Treatment is similar in men and women if hypogonadism is because of a tumor on the pituitary. Treatment comprises of medication, radiation therapy or surgery to get rid of the tumor.

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