Hypogonadism refers to a condition where the body produces little or no sex hormones. This condition can develop at a foetal stage or in adults as a result of an infection or injury. There are two types of hypogonadism; primary and secondary hypogonadism. Primary hypogonadism develops as a result of an issue with the testicles while secondary hypogonadism is caused by a problem with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.

Causes of Hypogonadism in Males

While the risk of this condition increases with age, the causes differ based on the type of hypogonadism.

Primary Hypogonadism

The common causes of primary hypogonadism include:

Undescended Testicles

This refers to a condition where the testicles do not descend from the abdomen at birth. It may affect one or both testicles. If not corrected in early childhood, it can affect testosterone production.

Klinefelter Syndrome

This is a congenital abnormality where the person’s genetic makeup contains an extra X chromosome

Hemochromatosis

Higher than normal levels of iron in the blood can cause pituitary gland dysfunction or testicular failure.

Treatment for Cancer

Radiation or chemotherapy can interfere with sperm and testosterone production. This may be temporary or permanent.

Injury to the Testicles

Damage to both testicles may impair testosterone production.

Mumps Orchitis

If mumps affects the testicles as well as the salivary glands, it can cause long-term testicular damage and impair testosterone production and testicular function.

Secondary Hypogonadism

This may be caused by:

  • Pituitary disorders: A pituitary tumour, treatment for brain tumours or abnormality in the pituitary gland can impair testosterone production and cause hormonal deficiencies.
  • Kallmann syndrome: This refers to the abnormal development of the hypothalamus.
  • Inflammatory diseases such as tuberculosis, histiocytosis and sarcoidosis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Use of certain kinds of pain medication
  • Obesity
  • Weakened immune system resulting from concurrent illnesses
  • Untreated Sleep Apnea
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