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Testicular failure

Contents of this page:


Endocrine glands
Endocrine glands
Male reproductive anatomy
Male reproductive anatomy

Alternative Names    Return to top

Primary hypogonadism - male

Definition    Return to top

Testicular failure is the inability of the testicles to produce sperm or male hormones.

See also:

Causes    Return to top

Testicular failure is uncommon. Causes include:

The following things increase the risk for testicular failure:

Symptoms    Return to top

Men may also notice they do not need to shave as frequently.

Exams and Tests    Return to top

A physical examination may reveal:

Further testing may show decreased bone mineral density and fractures. Blood tests may reveal low levels of testosterone and high levels of FSH and LH.

Testicular failure and low testosterone levels may be difficult to diagnose in older men because testosterone levels normally fall with age. The level of testosterone at which replacement therapy would be likely to improve symptoms and other outcomes is unpredictable and variable.

Treatment    Return to top

Male hormone supplements may successfully treat some forms of testicular failure. Men who take testosterone replacement therapy need to be carefully monitored by a doctor. Testosterone may cause overgrowth of the prostate gland and an abnormal increase in red blood cells.

Avoiding a specific drug or activity known to cause the problem may result in return of normal testicular function.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

Many forms of testicular failure cannot be reversed. Hormone replacement therapy can help reverse symptoms, although it may not restore fertility.

Possible Complications    Return to top

Testicular failure before the onset of puberty will stop normal body growth, specifically the development of adult male characteristics.

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of testicular failure.

Prevention    Return to top

Avoid higher-risk activities if possible.

References    Return to top

Bhasin S, Cunningham GR, Hayes FJ, et al. Testosterone therapy in adult men with androgen deficiency syndromes: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Jun;91(6):1995-2010.

Update Date: 4/26/2007

Updated by: Robert Hurd, MD, Professor of Endocrinology, Department of Biology, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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