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Causes of Testosterone Deficiency in Adults

Causes of Testosterone Deficiency

Testosterone deficiency, also known as hypogonadism, has many causes in men, but only a few in women.

The causes of testosterone deficiency may be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (develop later in life).

Testosterone deficiency is also classified by the location responsible for the cause as shown below:

  • Primary hypogonadism – testicular disruption
  • Secondary hypogonadism – pituitary gland disruption
  • Tertiary hypogonadism – hypothalamic disruption

Congenital testosterone deficiency causes in males include:

  • Klinefelter’s syndrome – males with extra x chromosomes
  • Undescended testicles (primary)
  • Absence of the testes (primary)
  • Deficiency in either gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) or luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) (tertiary)
  • Kallmann syndrome – abnormal development of the hypothalamus (tertiary)

All of these issues were present at birth. They are among the least seen causes of testosterone deficiency in adult males.

Why Men Get Testosterone Deficiency

Testosterone deficiency is more common in older men than most people realize, and that is in part due to the varied causes of a decline in testosterone levels.

To understand the testosterone deficiency cause and effect in males, you first have to realize that there are many players in the process of testosterone production. Any point along the pathway can lead to this decline.

Some of the primary acquired causes of testosterone deficiency in males are:

  • Testicular injury, tumor, or cancer
  • Radiation or chemotherapy
  • Mumps that affected the testicles

Some secondary acquired testosterone deficiency causes include:

  • Pituitary or brain tumor
  • Pituitary disorders
  • Inflammatory diseases such as histiocytosis, sarcoidosis, or tuberculosis
  • Abuse of anabolic steroids
  • Certain medications

Injury or a tumor of the hypothalamus is the leading tertiary cause of Low T.

Of course, we are still overlooking the most likely reason that men develop testosterone deficiency – getting older. In fact, the most common reasons for low T are:

  • Aging
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Chronic illness
  • COPD
  • Diabetes
  • Drug abuse
  • High blood pressure
  • Medications
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Poor diet, lack of sleep, no exercise and high stress can also contribute to a speedy decline of testosterone levels.

Testosterone levels naturally decline with age, but that does not mean you have to accept the symptoms that sometimes accompany Low T. A healthy lifestyle and some proper choices can increase testosterone production. Treatment options are also available for reversing testosterone deficiency.

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Reasons for Female Testosterone Deficiency

In women, testosterone production occurs primarily in the ovaries with a small amount coming from the adrenal glands. The ovaries also provide progesterone and estrogen to the body.

What causes testosterone deficiency in females?

During menopause the ovaries begin to shut down hormone production, leaving the job up to the adrenals. For women who undergo oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries), this process speeds up quite a bit.

The top causes of testosterone deficiency in females are:

  • Oophorectomy
  • Menopause
  • Ovarian tumor or cancer
  • Ovarian failure

Menopause, whether natural or surgically induced is the leading reason for testosterone decline in women. To maintain a proper balance of these chemicals, each hormone must remain at its natural state. Unfortunately, when menopause occurs, this is likely to change.

Instead of all three hormone levels dropping, a substance created in belly fat called aromatase works to increase estrogen levels. Aromatase accomplishes this by searching the blood for free testosterone and converting it into estradiol. This form of estrogen promotes abdominal fat storage that further increases the aromatase conversion process. Because progesterone levels are lower due to lack of ovarian production, the estrogen goes unopposed in the body, and a condition called estrogen dominance occurs.

For that reason, hormone specialists warn women to seek out blood testing before beginning any form of hormone replacement therapy for menopause symptoms. Increasing estrogen levels when already dealing with too much estradiol as compared to progesterone and testosterone will only worsen the problems.

To find out more about testosterone deficiency, or to arrange for blood testing at a lab near you, please contact the hormone specialists at Kingsberg HRT Clinic for a complimentary, confidential consultation.