Signs and Symptoms of Hypogonadism
Signs of low T depend on the age of onset and the duration of hormonal deficiency. Congenital testosterone deficiency is generally characterized by underdeveloped genitalia (testes that do not descend into the scrotum) and, occasionally, undeterminable genitalia.
Acquired testosterone deficiency that develops near puberty can result in enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia), sparse or absent pubic and body hair, and underdeveloped penis, testes, and muscle. Adult men may experience diminished libido, erectile dysfunction, muscle weakness, loss of body hair, depression, and other mood disorders. Recent research has shown that about 30 percent of men who are diagnosed with depression may actually have hypogonadism.
Although testosterone primarily is a male hormone, it is also produced in the adrenal cortex in females. Testosterone deficiency that develops in girls during childhood delays puberty and often results in short stature, absence of menstruation (amenorrhea), and underdeveloped breasts.
Symptoms of testosterone deficiency in women include the following:
- Absence of menstruation
- Diminished sex drive (libido)
- Hair loss
- Hot flashes
Testosterone Deficiency Complications
Testosterone deficiency has been linked to muscle weakness and osteoporosis (bone loss). In one study, proximal and distal muscle weakness was detected in 68 percent of men with primary or secondary hypogonadism.
Spinal, trabecular, and radial cortical bone density may also be significantly reduced in testosterone-deficient men. Thirty percent of men with spinal osteoporosis have long-standing testosterone deficiency, and one-third of men have subnormal bone density that puts them at risk for fracture.