Hypogonadism And Stem Cell Therapy
Hypogonadism is a condition in which the sex glands of an individual produces less than the normal amount of sex hormones. It also can be defined as the reduced functionality of the sexual glands. The sexual glands in the male and the female are the testes and the ovaries respectively. The name of the process by which hypogonadism occurs in the male gender is known as hypoandrogenism, while it’s known as hypoestrogenism in females. These conditions have a lot of effects both in the anatomical and physiological appearance and functionality. However, there are other hormones that can get reduced in addition to testosterone in males and estrogen in females. Some of these hormones include progesterone, activin, inhibin and Dihydroepiandrostenidione (DHEA). The process of sperm formation in males can be greatly inhibited by hypogonadism. However, this depends on the severity of the condition. A severe hypogonadism might lead to complete infertility, while a mild hypogonadism can lead to partial infertility.
Classification Of Hypogonadism
There are two types of hypogonadism, and these are;
- Primary hypogonadism
- Secondary hypogonadism
- Primary hypogonadism: Primary hypogonadism is a condition in which the defect is within the sexual gland itself. It basically means that the gonads or sexual glands are not producing sufficient amount of hormones. In the case of men, the defect would be in the testes, while the defect would be in the ovaries, in females. Examples of primary hypogonadism conditions are Turner’s syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome and so on.
- Secondary hypogonadism: This is also known as central hypogonadism. The glands are normal, however, the defect is in the brain. The problem could be the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, which controls the gonads, in the two sexes. Examples of this condition are polycystic ovarian syndrome, Kallmann syndrome and so on
Hypogonadism can also be classified based on the method of acquisition of the disorder. These are;
- Acquired hypogonadism: This is the type of hypogonadism that is caused by the things the patient by the activities of the patient. Examples of this are
- The consumption and abuse of drugs such as morphine, codeine, methadone and so on.
- Diseases such as mumps
- Injuries to the brain, especially when as a child.
- Congenital hypogonadism: This is the type of hypogonadism that is present when the patient was born. Examples of this kind of disorder are Klinefelter syndrome in men and Turner syndrome in females
What Are The Causes Of Hypogonadism?
There are a lot of things that could lead to reduced production of sexual hormones in the body. Some of the causes of primary hypogonadism include;
- Undescended testes in males: This is a congenital condition, in which the testes fail to descend into the scrotum, even as the individual ages. Surgery is mostly the solution to this problem.
- Genetic disorder: This is a congenital disorder in which the patient is born with an error in the genetic makeup, and which consequently leads to hypogonadism.
- Surgical procedures on the sex organs: Some gonadal disorder requires surgery, for it to be corrected. Damage could be done to the gonads, during this kind of procedure that might lead to hypogonadism.
- Immune system disorders: Autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body immune system fails to recognize the body tissues, and attacks it like it’s a threat to the body. The T-cells dos damage to the tissues, largely reducing their function and effectiveness. Example of some of these diseases is Addison’s disease rheumatoid arthritis.
- Infections: Infections, especially when they’re severe, can lead to hypogonadism.
- Exposure to a large amount of radiation: Exposing the body to a large dose of radiation, such as X-ray can reduce the function of the gonads. This might happen when pregnant patients frequently go for X-ray examinations. Their kids might be born with congenital hypogonadism
- Over absorption of iron: The condition where the body absorbs too much iron into the body is known as hemochromatosis. This condition can lead to hypogonadism.
The causes of central hypogonadism are as follow
- Infections: Infections, especially when they are left untreated and they turn severe, can lead to hypogonadism.
- Genetic disorder: This is a congenital disorder in which the patient is born with an error in the genetic makeup, and which consequently leads to central hypogonadism. An example of this disorder is Kallmann syndrome
- Endocrine disorder: Pituitary disorders can lead to hypogonadism.
- Inflammatory diseases: There are some inflammatory diseases that can lead to hypogonadism. However, most of these diseases have to be severe to cause this condition.
- Weight loss: Losing a lot of weight within a short time, can lead to hypogonadism.
- Medications: There are some drugs that are capable of suppressing the gonads when used for a long time. Examples of such medications are corticosteroids and opiates.
- Radiation exposure: Exposing the body to a large dose of radiation, such as X-ray can reduce the function of the gonads. This might happen when patients frequently go for X-ray examinations. Excessive dose of radiations can lead to secondary hypogonadism.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hypogonadism?
Hypogonadism symptoms can be divided into, based on gender
Symptoms that affect males
- Infertility: This happens when the gonads are not producing any sex hormone.
- Loss of body hair: Low amount of DHEA, which is responsible for the development of hair, will lead to loss of body hair.
- Slow secondary sex development: The low amount of released sex hormones leads to the slow rate of sex organs, such as the penis and the testes.
How Is Hypogonadism Currently Treated?
The treatment of hypogonadism is increasing the number of sex hormones in the body. This can be done by administering estrogen and testosterone therapy to the patients.
Stem Cell Therapy Of Hypogonadism
Researchers have utilized stem cell therapy to normalize the sex hormone levels in the blood. This was done by transforming the stem cells to form Leydig cells in males, which subsequently produced testosterone. Researchers are looking forward to replicating this kind of feat in females too and getting an FDA approval in the nearest future.
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