Hypogonadism in male is a common health disorder in India and data says over 1 million cases are reported per year. It occurs with inadequate production of testosterone hormone by testicles or gonads. Testosterone is the hormone that assists in sex determination at fetal stage and is essential for growth during puberty. Hypogonadism can potentially affect the two key functions of the testes - sperm and testosterone production.

It is the rise in testosterone that leads to growth of sebaceous glands and penis, increased libido, rate of erection and body height, greater muscle mass, loss of scalp hair, bone maturity, growth of hair and deepening of voice during puberty. In adults testosterone manifests itself through libido, erections, anger and vigour.

Contrary to the prevalent myth, testosterone hormone is much more than a sex hormone. It is involved in critical functions like metabolism, vasculature, and working of the brain while playing a significant role in bone and body composition.

Prepuberty Hypogonadism may affect growth and sexual development while postpuberty Hypogonadism leads to sexual difficulties and reduced fertility thus taking a toll on your relationship status.

Symptoms of Hypogonadism

When the serum testosterone levels in a male go below 300 ng/dL, he is said to have Hypogonadism. Symptoms of lack of testosterone are varied and depend on the age of emergence and level of deficiency.

In the prepubertal Hypogonadism, symptoms are manifested in light body hair, appearing younger than biological age, weak sexual growth, under-grown genitalia and difficulty gaining muscle mass. In post pubescent Hypogonadism the main symptom is sexual dysfunction including ED, decreased libido and penile sensation and trouble in getting orgasm. There are other symptoms as well like reduced energy levels, dejection, bad temper, difficulty in concentrating, fluctuations in cholesterol levels, anaemia and osteoporosis.

Blood tests including serum total and free testosterone help in confirming hypogonadism. Test reading between 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) is labelled as normal, anything below is considered as a condition of hypogonadism.

Causes of Hypogonadism

Hypogonadism can be primary or secondary. Primary hypogonadism results from testicular dysfunction, either inborn due to disorders like Klinefelter's syndrome, or developed at some point in life, as a consequence of radiation treatment, mumps, tumor or shock to the testes.

Secondary hypogonadism, affects the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, which secrete hormones encouraging testes to generate testosterone. Undernourishment, systemic disorders, anxiety, side effects of medical procedures, cirrhosis of liver, addiction and obesity are some of the known causes of secondary hypogonadism.

The threats involved with hypogonadism are diabetes, kidney failure, AIDs, obesity, high blood pressure and obstructive pulmonary disease. Hormone replacement therapy, oral medicines and self-care are some of the existing treatments for hypogonadism.

Testosterone therapy provided in the form of topical gel, transdermal patch or injection, is known to eradicate most of the symptoms of male hypogonadism. It restores sexual function, develops male physical characteristics, improves bone density, regularizes growth-hormone levels in elderly and reduces risk of heart disease. That said, it is also associated with certain threats like aggravation of prostatic hypertrophy, prostate cancer, poor sperm count, swelling of body parts and sleep disorder.

Diseases are meant to be treated and cured, seek help by all means any time you feel the need.