Ask The Physician

By Oscar

Q. Can hypogonadism become a problem in younger men? What are the symptoms of hypogonadism in men?

A. Hypogonadism in males, a condition with many possible causes, is due to decreased function of the testicles. Male hypogonadism causes impaired sex hormone (androgen) production and sperm development. Its manifestations are determined primarily by the age of onset.

If there is a failure of the gonads during early male fetal development, the development of external genitalia may be affected. This can lead to a condition called ambiguous genitalia in which the sex of a newborn may not be clear on external examination.

A deficiency of androgen at the time of puberty impairs the development of many body changes (called secondary sex characteristics), including increased muscle mass, deepening of the voice, body hair distribution, and growth of the penis and testicles. In addition, changes in skeletal development may lead to unusual length of the arms and legs disproportionate to body height (eunuchoid habitus).

Onset of hypogonadism in adult males can decrease sexual potency and fertility. It also may lead to a decrease in rate of growth of the beard (need to shave less often), thinning of the skin, development of breast tissue (gynecomastia) and loss of bone mass (osteopenia).

It’s important to establish the cause of hypogonadism so that appropriate treatment can be prescribed. This may require consultation with an endocrinologist, a physician specializing in the hormone-producing (endocrine) glands.

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categoriaMen's Health commentoComments Off dataDecember 6th, 2011


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