Male hypogonadism. Part II: etiology, pathophysiology, and diagnosis

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Abstract

Male hypogonadism has a multifactorial etiology that includes genetic conditions, anatomic abnormalities, infection, tumor, and injury. Defects in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis may also result from type II diabetes mellitus and treatment with a range of medications. Circulating testosterone levels have been associated with sexual function, cognitive function, and body composition. Apart from reduced levels of testosterone, clinical hallmarks of hypogonadism include absence or regression of secondary sex characteristics, reduced fertility (oligospermia, azoospermia), anemia, muscle wasting, reduced bone mass (and bone mineral density), and/or abdominal adiposity. Some patients, particularly those with partial androgen deficiency of the aging male, also experience sexual dysfunction, reduced sense of vitality, depressed mood, increased irritability, difficulty concentrating, and/or hot flushes in certain cases of acute onset. As many patients with male hypogonadism-like patients with erectile dysfunction-do not seek medical attention, it is important for clinicians to be acquainted with the signs and symptoms of hypogonadism, and to conduct appropriate laboratory testing and other assessments to determine the causes and inform the treatment of this condition.

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