How to recognize late-onset hypogonadism in men with sexual dysfunction

Sexual Medicine and Andrology Unit, Department of Clinical Physiopathology, University of Florence, Florence 50139, Italy.
Asian Journal of Andrology (Impact Factor: 2.6). 03/2012; 14(2):251-9. DOI: 10.1038/aja.2011.138
Source: PubMed


Late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) has been considered the most common form of male hypogonadism with a prevalence of approximately 1 in 100 men. Diagnosis of LOH should be made in symptomatic men with unequivocally low serum testosterone (T) levels. However, its clinical presentation is often insidious and difficult to recognize because it is characterized by nonspecific symptoms that make differential diagnosis with physiological ageing problematic. Sexual dysfunction is the most important determinant for medical consultation and the most specific symptom associated with low T. We therefore analysed a consecutive series of 1734 subjects who attended our unit for sexual dysfunction to investigate the associations between low T (different thresholds), sexual parameters, medical history data (delayed puberty, pituitary disease or cryptorchidism) and their physical exam results. Metabolic parameters, in particular waist circumference, display the greatest accuracy in detecting low T. We found that only the association of several symptoms and signs could significantly raise the clinical suspicion of low T. Structured inventories, which cluster together symptoms and signs of hypogonadism, can help clinicians suspect androgen deficiency. In particular, structured interviews, such as ANDROTEST, have been demonstrated to have a greater accuracy when compared to self reported questionnaires in detecting low T levels.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "The baseline characteristics of the subjects included in the study are reported in Table 1. All patients enroled underwent the usual diagnostic protocol applied to newly referred subjects at our Unit, in agreement with current guidelines (Hatzichristou et al., 2010) as previously reported (Petrone et al., 2003; Corona et al., 2008; Boddi et al., 2012; Corona et al., 2012a). An informed consent to the study was obtained from all subjects enroled. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The role of testosterone (T) in the cardiovascular (CV) health of men is controversial. Some data suggest that hypogonadism is associated with CV mortality but not morbidity, however, recent evidence shows that hypogonadal subjects treated with T replacement therapy have a higher incidence of new CV events. The aim of this study is to analyse whether gonadal status might predict new CV event incidence according to a patient's previous history of CV events, in a cohort of subjects complaining of sexual dysfunction. A consecutive series of 1687 patients was followed-up for a mean time of 4.3 ± 2.6 years for new occurrence of CV events, detecting 139 events. Hypogonadism (total T < 12 nmol/L) was not associated with an increased incidence of new CV events in the entire cohort. However, when considering patients with a previous history of CV events, hypogonadism was associated with a reduced risk of new CV events, even after adjusting for confounders (hazard ratios – HR = 0.498 [0.240; 0.996]; p = 0.049), whereas no relationship was observed in subjects free of previous CV events. Similar results were observed when reduced testis volume (TV) was considered as a predictor of new CV events in subjects with previous CV events (HR = 0.486 [0.257; 0.920]; p = 0.027). In patients with a history of previous CV events, but not in those without previous CV events, having both low T and low TV was associated with a lower incidence of new CV events as compared with subjects with only one or none of these conditions, even after adjusting for confounders (HR = 0.514 [0.306; 0.864]; p for trend < 0.02). Notably, CV risk estimated with risk engines based on traditional risk factors was not different between hypogonadal and eugonadal subjects. In conclusion, hypogonadism could be interpreted as a protective mechanism in unhealthy conditions, such as previous CV events, to avoid fatherhood and spare energy.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Andrology
  • Source
    • "The association between decreased TT and accumulation of visceral fat is well-known and has been extensively described in recent reviews, also by our group.672930 Essentially, it is a bidirectional association, with hypogonadism facilitating the accumulation of abdominal adiposity2829303132333435 and weight loss resulting in a substantial rise in T levels.36 "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a frequent complication of obesity. The aim of this review is to critically analyze the framework of obesity and ED, dissecting the connections between the two pathological entities. Current clinical evidence shows that obesity, and in particular central obesity, is associated with both arteriogenic ED and reduced testosterone (T) levels. It is conceivable that obesity-associated hypogonadism and increased cardiovascular risk might partially justify the higher prevalence of ED in overweight and obese individuals. Conversely, the psychological disturbances related to obesity do not seem to play a major role in the pathogenesis of obesity-related ED. However, both clinical and preclinical data show that the association between ED and visceral fat accumulation is independent from known obesity-associated comorbidities. Therefore, how visceral fat could impair penile microcirculation still remains unknown. This point is particularly relevant since central obesity in ED subjects categorizes individuals at high cardiovascular risk, especially in the youngest ones. The presence of ED in obese subjects might help healthcare professionals in convincing them to initiate a virtuous cycle, where the correction of sexual dysfunction will be the reward for improved lifestyle behavior. Unsatisfying sexual activity represents a meaningful, straightforward motivation for consulting healthcare professionals, who, in turn, should take advantage of the opportunity to encourage obese patients to treat, besides ED, the underlying unfavorable conditions, thus not only restoring erectile function, but also overall health.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Asian Journal of Andrology
  • Source
    • "In contrast to the general population, we recently reported that in subjects with sexual dysfunction, the presence of sexual symptoms does not help raise the suspicion of hypogonadism among clinicians, because of lack of specificity, in particular when a severe form of hypogonadism is considered.54,55 Other clinical signs, such as increased waist circumference, might help, but only the clustering of several symptoms and signs, as reported in specific structured interviews such as ANDROTEST, result in a reliable screener for this condition.55 "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) is a syndromic condition that has a well-recognized association with sexual and reproductive failure. LOH is frequently associated with chronic conditions including cardiovascular diseases (CVD), obesity, osteoporosis, HIV infection, renal failure, and obstructive pulmonary diseases. Despite this evidence, in patients with these conditions, LOH is still only rarely investigated and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) rarely considered. In this paper, we critically reviewed the available evidence on LOH treatment focusing on possible risks and benefits. Medical therapy of LOH should be individualized depending on the etiology of the disease and the patient's expectations. The fear of prostate cancer and the risk of erythrocytosis probably represent the main limitations of TRT in aging men. However, TRT in healthy older men in near physiological doses does not appear to incur serious adverse events, although regular monitoring of prostate-specific antigen and hematocrit levels is required. Available evidence also suggests that TRT might ameliorate central obesity and glycometabolic control in patients with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. In addition, TRT has been associated with an increase in bone mineral density in men with osteoporosis, with an improvement in lean body mass in subjects with human immunodeficiency virus infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as with peripheral oxygenation in patients with chronic kidney diseases. Despite this evidence, however, it should be recognized that the results of these trials were heterogeneous and limited by small sample sizes. Hence, further research is required regarding the long-term benefits and adverse effects of TRT in LOH.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013
Show more