Updated: 2019, Mar 6

What Is Hypogonadism? Types, Symptoms And Treatments

By - Reviewed by CHD Team

Although we often associate sexual problems with issues of physical mechanics, such as erectile dysfunction or vaginismus, both men and women can experience reduced sexual desire and performance due to hypogonadism, a physical condition that results in decreased functionality in the the body’s sex glands. Hypogonadism can occur in individuals of all ages, though it most prominently seen in middle-aged individuals who are transitioning out of their prime years for sexual activity. For women, menopause can easily induce symptoms of hypogonadism, as the body dramatically reduces its output of estrogen and progesterone.

Although there is no defined physiological event that determines when males reduce their testosterone production, men over 40 will typically begin experiencing physical symptoms in line with hypogonadism.

Classification of Hypogonadism

Hypogonadism can be classified using three distinct systems. Depending on the affected system, the specific instance of hypogonadism falls into one of two different sub-categories. Primary hypogonadism is often the result of deficiencies occurring within male and female gonads, while secondary hypogonadism is defined as defects occurring within the hypothalamic and pituitary glands. No matter where hypogonadism occurs within the body, individuals experiencing this particular medical condition will find it increasingly difficult to maintain the sexual practices and habits they engaged in before the onset of the malady.

For some individuals, hypogonadism can result from experiences earlier in life, such as contracting the mumps, significant brain injuries, or anabolic steroid use. For those who experience hypogonadism because of these previous events, their particular medical condition is defined as acquired hypogonadism, in direct contrast to congenital hypogonadism, which results from traits inherited from parents.

Hypogonadism can also result in decreased hormone production, which subsequently affects libido levels and sexual performance in both men and women. As hormone levels decrease, it is not uncommon for sexually active couples to lose their ability to procreate, as both women and men affected by this particular sexual health problem will no longer be able to engage in normal, healthy intercourse. As a point of reference, the relationship between hormone levels and fertility is a directly linked; the higher the level of hormones, the greater the chance of achieving fertilization. That being said, it is important to note that reduced hormone levels in older individuals should not always be a cause for concern. As abnormally high estrogen levels have been linked with breast cancer in women, establishing a clear and accurate picture of one’s own hormonal health is absolutely essential before enlisting treatment for hypogonadism.

What are The Symptoms of Low Testosterone?

Men experiencing the adverse effects of hypogonadism will often experience significant drops in their testosterone levels. Symptoms of low testosterone include depression, loss of sexual drive, apathy and an inability to performance at standard sexual levels relative to age. Although testosterone production naturally declines with age, men who are interested in restoring their testosterone supply to natural levels can use testosterone supplements to help offset any previous imbalances.

Diagnosis For Men

Testosterone replacement therapy is often recommended for men who are currently not in the process of trying to conceive a child. This is an important lifestyle element to discuss with doctors before initiating a testosterone replacement therapy program.

Diagnosis For Women

Although testosterone is often thought of as a hormone strictly relegated to the male gender, women also experience significant physiological changes as a result of testosterone hormonal imbalances. As with men, the female body’s delicate balance of hormones is designed to stimulate sex drive during the years leading up to menopause. Following menopause, testosterone levels, in addition to estrogen and progesterone levels, will decrease with age. In young girls, hypogonadism can delay the beginning of the menstrual cycle, a potentially significant problem that should be addressed immediately. For girls, delayed puberty is one of the strongest and most telling indications that hypogonadism may be prevalent.

For individuals who may suspect that they suffered from hormonal imbalances, specifically those associated with testosterone, doctors are able to quickly and precisely determine hormonal levels through simple blood tests. As there are established “normal” hormonal levels for women and men of all ages, doctors can compare an individual’s particular results to those of the population as whole. Following these assessments, doctors can create a program that provides individuals with the hormone therapy they need to offset the debilitating effects of hypogonadism. Age is always taken into account when determining a viable treatment plan. If doctors determine that testosterone levels are not significantly reduced beyond normal levels, treatment may not be advised.

What Treatments Are Available For Low Testosterone Problems?

Both natural and prescription remedies are available for individuals seeking an effective method of replacing lost hormones. In addition to a range of medicinal products, such as pills and injections, a wide range of natural remedies have been directly linked with increased testosterone production. By carefully monitoring dietary patterns, sleep cycles and emotional well-being, individuals can optimize their lifestyle to ensure that their body returns to normal levels of testosterone production.

As certain studies have linked low testosterone levels with decreased longevity in individuals over 50, it is important to consult with a physician if an individual is suffering from hypogonadism or low testosterone. By educating oneself on the common symptoms of this health problem, both men and women can be aware of their body’s activity and respond accordingly if necessary.


As an increasing quantity of information becomes available to individuals interested in learning more about the mechanics of their body, it becomes much easier to educate oneself on a range of potentially hazardous conditions that may be occurring. Although hypogonadism, as well as a range of other sex-related health problems, may be intimidating or awkward to discuss with intimate partners or doctors, it is imperative that individuals establish trusting relationships with close acquaintances and professional physicians in order to ensure that the necessary treatment is provided in as expedient a fashion as possible. Thanks to recent advancements in medical technology and practice, hypogonadism remains a largely treatable condition in men and women of all ages. If you suspect you may suffer from hypogonadism, discuss your symptoms with your doctor today. The sooner you address the problem, the more quickly it can be resolved.

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