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What Are the Different Types of Hypogonadism Treatment?

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  • Written By: H. Lo
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Hypogonadism treatment mainly involves hormone-replacement therapy. In certain cases, other ways to treat it are through medication, radiation therapy and surgery. Hypogonadism itself is a medical condition in which the testes or ovaries do not produce enough hormones -- in males, this would be testosterone, and in females, it would be estrogen. For hormone-replacement therapy, men receive testosterone through a variety a ways, including gel and injection, as well as through a patch and a substance applied to the gum and cheek; women receive estrogen through a patch or pill. Other hypogonadism treatment options, such as surgery, apply to certain causes of the condition, such as a pituitary tumor.

To receive testosterone-replacement therapy through gel, a man applies the gel onto his skin and absorbs testosterone as the substance dries. The application can be on areas such as the lower abdomen or upper arms. A testosterone injection occurs about every two weeks. In this treatment method, the affected man, a family member or a health professional administers the injection into the muscle.

A testosterone patch requires nightly, rotating application. The patch is applied to a different area, such as the abdomen or back, each night. Rotation of the patch reduces skin reactions that can occur if the patch is consistently applied to the same area. As for testosterone absorption through the gum and cheek, the substance applied to the area softens when it comes in contact with saliva. This enables the absorption to occur.

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Though these are the main testosterone-replacement options for hypogonadism treatment in men, there is yet another treatment method. Oral testosterone treatment is available in some countries, but it is generally not advised for long-term hormone-replacement therapy. This is because it can cause an array of health complications, including high cholesterol and liver problems.

To receive estrogen-replacement therapy, a woman can opt to use a patch, which is applied two times a week, or she can take a pill. If a woman is taking estrogen, she will also need to take progesterone if she has not had a hysterectomy. This is because the combination will reduce her risk of developing endometrial cancer, which is a type of uterine cancer.

Perhaps to understand why medication, radiation therapy and surgery are also helpful in hypogonadism treatment, it is first best to realize that there are two forms of hypogonadism: primary and central. In primary hypogonadism, the sex glands, or gonads, themselves do not function correctly, which results in poor hormone production. For central hypogonadism, the problem lies with the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, areas in the brain that control the proper functioning of the gonads. So when something is wrong with the pituitary gland, for example, then this area will be the target of appropriate treatment, whether that might be in the form of medication or another treatment method.

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