Testosterone is a hormone – a chemical messenger – that is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics. Usually, in smaller amounts but females also produce testosterone. It is a type of androgen that is produced mainly by the testes or testicles in cells which are also known as the Leydig cells. Men are infertile without adequate testosterone. This is because the process of spermatogenesis that is also known as development of matures sperm which requires testosterone. In men, testosterone is thought to regulate a number of functions in addition to sperm production like sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle size and strength and red blood cell production. There are many things that are involved in resulting in male hypogonadism.
Hypogonadism occur when sex glands produce very less or no sex hormones. The sex glands are known as gonads, are mainly the testes in men and the ovaries in women. The sex hormones help in controlling the secondary sex features like the development of breast in women, development of testicular in men, and increase in pubic hair. It also plays an important role in the menstrual cycle and sperm production. Hypogonadism may also be known as gonad insufficiency and it may also call as low serum testosterone or andropause when it happens in males.
Male hypogonadism also called as testosterone deficiency, it is a breakdown of the testes to process the male sex hormone testosterone, sperm, or both. This condition can be due to a testicular disorder or due to the result of a disease process involving the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Hypogonadism can have adverse effects on the functioning of many organs as well as negatively influence a male’s quality of life. The symptoms and signs of male hypogonadism depend upon the beginning age, the severity of the testosterone deficiency and whether or not there is a decrease in the major functions of the testes.
There are a number of facts about male hypogonadism like it can occur at any age or consequences differ according to the age at onset, if it occurs in an infant before birth, sexual ambiguity may result, if it occurs before puberty, puberty does not progress; if it occurs after puberty, it can result in infertility and sexual dysfunction, males with hypogonadism are at increased risk of bone fractures, about 50% of men older than 80 years of age have subnormal testosterone levels, nearly 50% of older males with low testosterone have no symptoms. In adult men, symptoms begin within a few weeks of the onset of testosterone deficiency, a 500% increase in the sale of testosterone formulations in the US has been reported in recent years, and it has been shown to increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, premature death in elderly men and Alzheimer’s disease.
The symptoms of male hypogonadism are different in every age. Symptoms of puberty-onset hypogonadism includes impaired sexual development, decreased testicular size, enlarged breasts (gynecomastia) and in adults it includes erectile dysfunction, Low sperm count, depressed mood, decreased libido, lethargy, sleep disturbances, decreased muscle mass and strength, loss of body hair (pubic, axillary, facial), osteoporosis and decreased bone mineral density, increased body fat, breast discomfort and enlargement, hot flashes, sweating, poor concentration and decreased energy. These deficiencies lead men and women to face a lack in testosterone, resulting in male hypogonadism.