Hypogonadism simply means that the “gonads”, namely the male (testicles) or the female sex hormone producing glands (ovaries), do not deliver enough hormone to sustain male or female sex characteristics.
In the male, testosterone deficiency can be due to absent testicles or testicles that are malfunctioning. In the female, estrogen deficiency means that the ovaries are not present or not functioning properly. There are a number of reasons why this could happen as summarized in the table below.
Causes of hormone deficiencies of testicles and ovaries *
|Male hypogonadism||Female hypogonadism|
|primary hypogonadism||Klinefelter syndrome||primary hypogonadism||Turner syndrome|
|Bilateral anorchia (absent testicles)|
|Congenital adrenal hyperplasia|
|secondary hypogonadism||Panhypopituitarism||Congenital adrenal hyperplasia|
|Kallman syndrome||secondary hypogonadism||Panhypopituitarism|
|Male menopause (=Andropause)||Menopause|
* This table explained below
At first glance this table might look somewhat menacing, but it is not that complicated. Let me explain: Both male and female hypogonadism can be divided into primary and secondary hypogonadism.
“Primary” means that the hormone deficiency originates directly at the site where the sex hormones are produced (testicles, ovaries or the adrenal glands). “Secondary” means that the hypogonadism develops because of a lack of stimulation of hormone production due to adrenal gland disease or due to missing pituitary or hypothalamic hormone stimulation. Perhaps the most common age-related reason for gonadal slow-down is menopause for females and andropause for males. The table above contains links to more info regarding the more common causes of hypogonadism.
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