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Symptoms Of Hypogonadism

Symptoms of hypogonadism are extremely variable depending on when it occurred in the life cycle.

The most profound changes in appearance happen when the fetus experiences androgen deficiency in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Internal and external genitalia are affected most by hormone deficiency during this time period when the genitalia develop. In the middle or latter part of pregnancy androgen deficiency will only lead to a microphallus or to an undescended testicle.

In childhood androgen deficiency is hardly noticeable except in blood tests. But in late childhood at the time of male puberty and female puberty important changes occur, namely a suppression of the secondary sex characteristics. These are a lack of development of the low pitched voice in males (high pitched voice stays), lack of growth of the phallus, scrotum, testicles, axillary and pubic hair.

There is body hair loss or absent body hair, there may be male breast growth (=gynecomastia), and the long bone growth is accelerated leading to the body shape of a eunuch. This occurs because low testosterone in these patients delays the fusion of the growth plates. Muscle development is poor as well (lack of testosterone and androgens).

In adulthood there are the least noticeable symptoms such as lack of libido, male infertility, testicular atrophy, wrinkling of the skin around lips and eyes and lack of body hair growth. Gynecomastia and calcium deficient bones (=osteopenia) might also be present. In genetic syndromes there would be the additional signs and symptoms described under these particular anomalies.



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Last modified: August 31, 2014

This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.