HYPOGONADISM CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Hormones serve as the body’s messaging system and reproductive hormones like testosterone are the most important in this role. Low hormone levels mean the communication system breaks down and things begin to change. Hypogonadism in men is a condition that indicates low testosterone levels — one of the most critical hormones in the body. When testosterone levels drop, it can affect body composition, mood and energy levels. Getting educated on hypogonadism is the key to finding ways to manage low t.
What is Hypogonadism?
Technically, hypogonadism means a person’s body fails to produce enough sex hormones. In men, that means testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone behind the development of male traits like muscle and bone mass and body hair but also brain function and immune function. Hypogonadism can develop at a young age and even in vitro (while still in the uterus). It can delay puberty and interfere with normal growth. For adult males, hypogonadism becomes an inevitable part of the aging process. All men experience a drop in hormone levels, typically starting around age 30. Combined with other factors like stress, environment and poor sleep and diet, testosterone levels can diminish further in middle age or during the senior years. Hypogonadism can also be the result of injury or infection at any age.
Hypogonadism is broken down into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary hypogonadism is caused by an inherited trait or is the result of an accident or illness to the testes. Secondary hypogonadism is due to a problem with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus— the organs that regulate the production of testosterone. One person can have primary, secondary or mixed hypogonadism during his lifetime or even at the same time.
Male Hypogonadism Symptoms
The symptoms vary based on the age of the patient and the cause of the low t. Adult men tend to experience things like:
● Erectile dysfunction
● A decrease in bone and muscle mass
● Growth of breast tissue
● A decrease in body hair
● A less full beard
Men with a hypogonadism diagnosis will also feel lower energy levels and may gain weight. They may notice a change in their libido and suffer from mood swings. These men tend to have trouble concentrating and may experience short-term memory loss, as well.
What are some Hypogonadism Causes?
For most men, the answer will be “normal” aging, although a comprehensive medical evaluation and lab tests are the only way to know for sure if and why low t exists. Older men do naturally produce lower levels of testosterone, though. Obesity is another common factor at any age. For some, the reduction in hormone levels is a consequence of a disease process or injury. For example, an inflammatory disease like sarcoidosis can lead to hypogonadism. It can be a side effect of cancer treatments, too. Even untreated sleep apnea is a risk factor.
How is Hypogonadism Diagnosed?
Ideally, the diagnosis is done with a comprehensive medical evaluation complete with a range of lab tests like the CBC, PSA and lipid panel along with a total AND free testosterone level test. Low testosterone levels can be a symptom of a more serious medical problem, so a proper diagnosis is important. A generalized test may only measure the overall total testosterone. More specialized tests dig deeper to look for causes of the decline.
What is the Treatment For Hypogonadism?
Generally, testosterone optimization is one of the most effective treatments for men with primary or secondary hypogonadism once it is properly diagnosed. Low t responds well to high-quality bio-identical testosterone given as an injection. Although there are some convenient prescription pill formulas, most are toxic to the liver. An injection helps avoid some of those specific complications. The negative side effects of oral testosterone treatments can include an increase in cholesterol levels, too.
Once a regimen of testosterone optimization begins, some patients notice an increase in energy levels that improve their quality of life. According to the American Heart Association, testosterone treatments also improve overall health and more specifically heart health. Low testosterone, which is hypogonadism, increases a man’s risk of developing atherosclerosis, a condition that leads to the narrowing of the arteries. Balancing out those hormone levels reduces that risk and also helps to prevent diabetes, obesity, myocardial ischemia and even depression.
A concierge medical practice like Vitality Rx takes into account the patient’s overall health when developing a workable testosterone optimization program. A full panel of blood tests are done to get the complete health picture and then self administered treatments are provided if necessary. If you think you or someone you love has low t, give Vitality Rx a call to find out more about hypogonadism