Hypogonadism (Low Testosterone) | Men’s Health Resource Center

Posted: June 24, 2018 at 10:45 am

Hypogonadism (hi-po-go-na-dizm) also known as low testosterone (Low T),occurs when the body does not produce enough male sex hormones (androgen deficiency), specifically testosterone, and it can result in sexual impotence, infertility, loss of muscle mass and strength, reduction in bone density, mood changes and fat accumulation. It can develop from a testicular disorder at any age or it can result from disease, injury or drug abuse.

There are two basic types of male hypogonadism, which both result in decreases in sperm and testosterone production.

Primary hypogonadism is low testosterone due to a dysfunction or defect in the testes.

Secondary hypogonadism is low testosterone due to a dysfunction or defect in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus (the parts of the brain that signal the testicles to produce testosterone).

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is the most important sex hormone in the male body. It is needed for masculine growth and development during puberty, and the development of male characteristics such as body and facial hair, muscle growth, strength and a deep voice. Normal levels of testosterone also influence the production of sperm, promote sexual function and sex drive. The brain and the testicles work together to keep testosterone levels within a normal range. When levels of testosterone are below normal, the brain signals the testicles to make more. When testosterone levels are too high, the brain signals for the testicles to make less.


The ability to produce testosterone declines as men age, resulting in a condition called hypogonadismor Low Testosterone (Low T). This loss of testosterone may lead to uncomfortable and distressing symptoms. Researchers estimate that hypogonadism affects from 2-6 million men in the United States with only 5% receiving treatment.*

Low T may affect a mans interest in sex, his ability to perform sexually and it can result in sexual impotence, infertility, loss of muscle mass and strength, reduction in bone density, mood changes and fat accumulation. Causes of Low T vary, and some men are born with the condition, while others develop it later in life. Low T is characterized by low levels of testosterone and presents such symptoms such as decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, decreased energy and depression.

Its normal for a mans sex drive to slowly decline from its peak in his teens and 20s, but libido and sex drive vary widely among men and also for an individual over time. It is affected by stress, sleep, general health and opportunities for sex. Men may not recognize a problem until a partner considers it an issue or the man recognizes he cannot function sexually.

In Puberty:Hypogonadism may delay puberty or inhibit development. You may notice the following symptoms:

In Adulthood:Hypogonadismmay alter physical characteristics, cause health problems or impair reproductive function. You may notice the following symptoms.

Some men may also experience the following signs and symptoms:


GET SCREENEDYou may want to ask your healthcare provider to check you for low testosterone levels if you experience symptoms associated with Low T. A primary care provider checks testosterone levels with a blood test to determine if you have Low T and determine if testosterone therapy is right for you. You might also ask your healthcare provider about a referral to an endocrinologist or urologist who specializes in treating Low T.

In order to get the best treatment, its important that you become a proactive partner in your healthcare. Here are some questions you can ask your healthcare provider about Low Testosterone.

If you do experience symptoms of Low Testosterone and are diagnosed by a healthcare provider, the good news is that the condition very often is treatable.

There are several FDA-approved testosterone replacement therapies, including:

Gels and SolutionsTestosterone gels and solutions are applied directly to the skin and are absorbed into the body. These generally require daily application.

PatchesPatches allow testosterone to be absorbed by the skin. Patches are applied daily, typically to the back, abdomen, upper arm or thigh.

InjectionsTestosterone injections, usually in the upper buttock, are typically given every 1-2 weeks. However, there are some long-acting injections that can be administered every 10 weeks.

Buccal TabletIn your mouth, the tablet is applied to the gum, where testosterone is absorbed over a 12-hour period. They are taken twice daily.

PelletsPellets are implanted under the skin near the hip during a surgical procedure by a healthcare provider.

REMEMBER:Regular checkups and age-appropriate screening, including low testosterone, can improve your health and extend your life.

Testosterone therapy should not be used in men with carcinoma of the breast or known or suspected carcinoma of the prostate. Geriatric patients treated with androgens may be at an increased risk for the development ofprostatic hyperplasiaand prostatic carcinoma.

To learn more about Hypogonadism visit the following pages

MedscapeCleveland ClinicMedline PlusWhat Men Should Know About Testosterone

The following professional and patient care organizations are available as resources for further information about low Testosterone and testosterone replacement therapy:

American Academy of Family Healthcare providers (AAFP)11400 Tomahawk Creek ParkwayLeawood, KS 66211913-906-6000www.aafp.org

American Osteopathic Association (AOA)142 E. Ontario St.Chicago, IL 60611-2864800-621-1773www.osteopathic.org

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)1000 Riverside Avenue, Suite 205Jacksonville, FL 32204904-353-7878www.aace.com

American Society for Reproductive Medicine1209 Montgomery HighwayBirmingham, AL 35216205-978-5000www.asrm.org

American Urologic Association (AUA)1000 Corporate BoulevardLinthicum, MD 21090410-689-3700www.auanet.org

The Endocrine Society8401 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 900Chevy Chase, MD 20815301-941-0200www.endo-society.org

The Hormone Foundation8401 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 900Chevy Chase, MD 20815800-HORMONEwww.hormone.org

Sexual Medicine Society of North America, Inc.1111 North Plaza Drive, Suite 550Schaumburg, IL 60173847-517-7225www.smsna.org

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Hypogonadism (Low Testosterone) | Men's Health Resource Center

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