Testosterone deficiency is also called hypogonadism. Testosterone is produced mainly by the testes and in lesser quantities it is produced by the adrenal glands. Testosterone hormone is one of the main hormones found in men. It is found in women in lesser amount. This hormone is androgenic in nature.
The production of this hormone reduces with age and hence leads to testosterone deficiency gradually with age. This deficiency can also arise in younger individuals due to any kind of damage to the hypothalamus, the pituitary glands or the testes.
The main function of testosterone is the development of the bones and the muscles of the body and also the development of the male reproductive organs along with the secondary sexual characteristics. This hormone also is responsible for the sexual desires, fertility, mood swings experienced etc. the normal amount of testosterone produced in the body is about 4-7 mg/day.
Testosterone deficiency can be of two types:
Primary testosterone deficiency arises when there is some defect which lies in the gonads. Klinefelter syndrome, turner syndromes are some examples of conditions which gives rise to primary form of testosterone deficiency.
Secondary testosterone deficiency arises when there is a defect in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland region. Polycystic ovarian syndrome can cause secondary testosterone deficiency.
Testosterone deficiency can also be congenital or acquired in nature.
Congenital testosterone deficiency is seen turners syndrome in females also Klinefelter syndrome which is seen in males.
The acquired form of testosterone deficiency occurs due to any kind of infection that occurs in the body like mumps which occur in childhood.
Some of the symptoms of testosterone deficiency are as follows:
Those seen in men-
-fatigue and weakness
-difficulty in concentrating
-accumulation of fat in the abdominal area
-early onset of diabetes due to glucose intolerance
-inadequate hair growth and other secondary sexual characteristics
-inadequate development of testes
-dry skin and brittle nails
Those seen in women include-
-frequent urinary tract infection
To diagnose testosterone level in the body the physician generally orders for a simple blood test. The level of testosterone in the body is highest during the morning hours. The level of testosterone in the body gradually drops as the day progresses. The drop can be as much as 13%. Treatment is generally recommended in those individuals in whom the testosterone levels are below 350ng/dl.
Hormone replacement therapy is generally done to treat testosterone deficiency. This therapy can be given in the form of transdermal patches, gels, injections etc. testosterone can also be taken orally. However, this is not a recommended form of treatment as it gets metabolized in the liver and remains inactive there causing damage to the liver.
Whenever testosterone deficiency treatment is started, the desirable changes are not apparent immediately. It takes a good time of about 2-3 months to show effect. Symptoms gradually improve over time.
Testosterone can also be given in the muscle area.
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