Hypogonadism is when the sex glands produce little or no hormones. In men, these glands (gonads) are the testes; in women, they are the ovaries.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The cause of hypogonadism may be "primary" or "central." In primary hypogonadism, the ovaries or testes themselves do not function properly. Some causes of primary hypogonadism include:
- Certain autoimmune disorders
- Genetic and developmental disorders
- Liver and kidney disease
The most common genetic disorders that cause primary hypogonadism are
In central hypogonadism, the centers in the brain that control the gonads (hypothalamus and pituitary) do not function properly. Some causes of central hypogonadism include:
- Certain medications, including steroids and opiates
- Genetic problems
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Iron excess(hemochromatosis)
- Rapid, significant weight loss
A genetic cause of central hypogonadism that also takes away the sense of smell is
Review Date: 10/14/2010
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by Ari S. Eckman, MD, Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.