Hypogonadism is when the testicles, gonads, don't make enough testosterone. Primary hypogonadism occurs when there is a problem or abnormality in the testicles. Secondary hypogonadism happens when there's a problem with the pituitary gland in the brain; it sends chemical messages to the testicles to produce testosterone.
Hypogonadism can happen during fetal development, puberty, and adulthood. When it happens in adult men, hypogonadism may cause the following problems:
- Erectile dysfunction (inability to achieve or maintain an erection)
- Decreased sex drive
- Decrease in beard and growth of body hair
- Decrease in size or firmness of the testicles
- Decrease in muscle mass and increase in body fat
- Loss of bone mass (osteoporosis)
- Enlarged male breast tissue
- Hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, depression, fatigue
Treatment for hypogonadism depends on the cause. Male hormone replacement, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), is used to treat testicles disorders. If the problem is related to the pituitary gland, pituitary hormones may help with testosterone levels and sperm production.