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Alternative Names Return to topPrimary hypogonadism - male
Definition Return to top
Testicular failure is the inability of the testicles to produce sperm or male hormones.
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.