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What is Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism?

Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism is a complex condition where the body's sex hormone production is impaired due to inadequate signaling from the brain. It affects both males and females, disrupting puberty and fertility. Intriguingly, it can be congenital or acquired. To see how this condition manifests and the potential treatments, let's explore the visual journey of understanding Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism. Ready to see more?
Andy Josiah
Andy Josiah

Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is absent or decreased function of the gonad, the organ responsible for making the cells necessary for reproduction. For males, the gonads are the testes, while for females the gonads are the ovaries. This condition results in a lack of sexual growth or maturity. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is also referred to as gonadotropin deficiency, Kallmann Syndrome, and secondary hypogonadism.

One of this condition's alternate terms, secondary hypogonadism, is used to describe the manner of cause, which denotes that the malfunction is outside the gonad. Specifically, the defect lies with the hypothalamus in the brain, or the pituitary gland that protrudes beneath it. Gonadotropin deficiency is a term used to describe the absence of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). The hypothalamus uses GnRH to induce the pituitary gland to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones are instrumental in triggering sexual development during puberty.

The presence of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism may be determined with an MRI of the brain.
The presence of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism may be determined with an MRI of the brain.

The term Kallmann Syndrome is used specifically in cases where the defect lies with the hypothalamus. It is also regarded as a form of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism that is inherited. Kallmann Syndrome was named after a German-American geneticist called Franz Josef Kallmann, who first described the medical condition in 1944.

The most prominent symptom of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is the lack of maturity traits such as hair in the pubic area and underarms. Other symptoms include underdeveloped testes and, in some cases, stunted physical growth. Kallmann Syndrome is notably associated with a loss of smell.

For females, treatment of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism usually involves taking progesterone pills.
For females, treatment of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism usually involves taking progesterone pills.

Doctors can usually do a variety of related tests to determine the presence of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. They can run blood tests to find out the hormone levels of the body. Also, they may measure the LH response to the GnRH produced by the hypothalamus, or take a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain.

For males, treatment of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism usually involves testosterone injections, skin patches or gels. For females, estrogen or progesterone pills are typically prescribed. In some cases, doctors may inject GnRH. There may be some complications, however, that develop as a result of the treatments, such as infertility and postponed puberty.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone originates in the brain's hypothalamus.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone originates in the brain's hypothalamus.

Prevention of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism depends on what causes it. In some cases, the condition is inherited, so people who are worried about developing it can explore their genetic history with their physicians. Also, powerful blows to the head can adversely affect the pituitary gland, thus increasing the chance of getting hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Children who have yet to reach puberty when they should have already are strongly encouraged to seek medical help.

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    • The presence of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism may be determined with an MRI of the brain.
      By: James Steidl
      The presence of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism may be determined with an MRI of the brain.
    • For females, treatment of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism usually involves taking progesterone pills.
      By: logos2012
      For females, treatment of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism usually involves taking progesterone pills.
    • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone originates in the brain's hypothalamus.
      By: stockshoppe
      Gonadotropin-releasing hormone originates in the brain's hypothalamus.
    • Some treatments used for hypogonadotropic hypogonadism may cause delayed puberty.
      By: Darrin Henry
      Some treatments used for hypogonadotropic hypogonadism may cause delayed puberty.