Male hypogonadism

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Male hypogonadism is a condition in which the body doesn't produce enough of the sex hormone testosterone. As many as 5 million men in the United Sates may not produce enough testosterone, the hormone that plays a key role in masculine growth and development during puberty.

During fetal development, low testosterone can cause incomplete formation of sex organs. Low testosterone levels before puberty can permanently affect growth and development. After puberty, the development of hypogonadism is more likely to cause temporary problems that may improve with treatment. Some types of hypogonadism can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy.

Male hypogonadism means the testicles don't produce enough testosterone. There are two basic types of hypogonadism:

  • Primary testicular failure, which originates from a problem in the testicles
  • Secondary hypogonadism, which indicates a problem in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland — parts of the brain that signal the testicles to produce testosterone.

Last modified: Jul 15, 2013
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