This syndrome is caused by an androgen deficiency (testosterone) and can affect the functioning of multiple organs and the overall quality of life of the individual. Testosterone is a hormone primarily produced in the testicles and, in addition to its sexual function (allows the development of sexual characteristics, increases libido, leads to satisfactory erections), it collaborates in the proper functioning of multiple organs. Therefore, its deficit may cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms: infertility, decrease in body hair, increase in abdominal obesity, appearance of metabolic syndrome, decrease in energy levels, appearance or aggravation of depression symptoms, sleep disorders and decrease in cognitive capacity, among others.
There are numerous types of hypogonadism. However, the most common is the age-related hypogonadism. In men, there is a progressive decrease in testosterone production throughout adult life, with a prevalence of this syndrome of 2.1-5.7% in men aged 40-79 years, although the prevalence of testosterone deficiency appears to be higher, at 2.1-12.8%. It is therefore a physiological process that, in most cases, does not require treatment unless there are symptoms that interfere with or alter the individual’s quality of life.
Given its relationship with the metabolic syndrome in adult men (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cholesterol imbalance, obesity), the study of this entity opens the door to the comprehensive assessment of men’s health, and an opportunity to prevent cardiovascular disease risk factors.
» Clinical interview with a super-specialised andrologist.
This is the most important part, since the signs and symptoms that may lead to the suspicion of this entity must be investigated, in addition to evaluating relevant personal background. Targeted physical exam is also very useful to help establish the diagnosis.
» Validated questionnaires.
They help to establish, as objectively as possible, the severity of the pathology and the effect it has on the individual.
» Laboratory study:
Complete blood count, lipid profile, blood sugar level, hormone profile, thyroid function, kidney and liver function, prostate pathology. In addition to establishing its association with other diseases, the measurement of testosterone levels is essential to confirm the diagnosis.
Consists in the exogenous administration of testosterone.
There are several preparations on the market, which can be topical, in gel form or injectable. Since testosterone acts at multiple levels in the body, certain parameters need to be monitored periodically to avoid unwanted side effects, so its administration should be supervised by an experienced andrologist.
For this reason, treatment is usually started with formulas that have a short half-life (topical) and, if no relevant alterations are observed, the treatment is subsequently moved to formulas with a long half-life, which are more comfortable for the patient.