Male hypogonadism means the testicles do not produce enough of the male sex hormone testosterone. When levels are low, men might have decreased sex drive, less muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, and fatigue.
Hypogonadism has a negative effect on organ function and quality of life. Testosterone is responsible for male reproductive and sexual functions. It affects puberty, fertility, muscle mass, body composition, bone strength, fat metabolism, sex drive, mood and mental processes (Fig. 1).
Testosterone is an androgen. Production of androgens decreases slightly with age. Low levels are more common in men who are obese and have multiple health conditions.
For most adults with hypogonadism, the condition is lifelong and treatment is ongoing. The goal is to improve quality of life, sense of well-being, sexual function, and muscle and bone strength. Hormone replacement combined with weight loss, a healthy diet, stopping smoking, and increasing exercise can help.