Hypogonadism

Alternative Names

Gonadal deficiency

Definition of Hypogonadism

Hypogonadism is when the sex glands produce little or no hormones. In men, these glands (gonads) are the testes; in women, they are the ovaries.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause of hypogonadism may be “primary” or “central.” In primary hypogonadism, the ovaries or testes themselves do not function properly. Some causes of primary hypogonadism include:

Symptoms

Girls who have hypogonadism during childhood will not begin menstruating. The condition can affect girls’ breast development and height. If hypogonadism occurs after puberty, symptoms include:

Signs and tests

Tests may be done that check:

Treatment

Hormone-based medicines are available for men and women. Estrogen comes in the form of a patch or pill. Testosterone can be given using a patch, a product soaked in by the gums, a gel, or by injection.

Expectations (prognosis)

Many forms of hypogonadism are treatable and have a good outlook.

Review

Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by Ari S. Eckman, MD, Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/14/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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