The Jakarta Post
Men with hypogonadism, or testosterone deficiency syndrome, need to address its clinical symptoms before they give way to more complicated psychological conditions, experts said on Thursday.
Hypogonadism affected men's health, but sometimes was left untreated due to a lack of awareness or even denial.
'Most men are neglecting the symptoms, like a decrease in libido, erectile dysfunction, exhaustion and an increase in waist size. These are often perceived as normal conditions that come about with age,' said andrologist Nugroho Setiawan during a seminar on hypogonadism.
Hypogonadism occurs when the sex glands, the testicles, produce little to no testosterone. Though present in both men and women, testosterone is the main sex hormone of men.
Nugroho emphasized that testosterone was not only related to sex, but it had an effect on the whole body. He added that optimum levels of testosterone had an all-round positive effect, such as confidence, a sharper mind, healthy heart and bones. Men with healthy levels of testosterone also had more energy, a generally happier outlook on life and were overall more satisfied with their body.
Conversely, men with testosterone deficiency had less energy, reduced libido levels and were more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.
A man may suffer from this condition at any stage of his life. However, studies have found that men over the age of 40 have a higher risk.
The prevalence of hypogonadism in men between the ages of 45 and 54 is 34 percent; it rises to 40 percent for men aged 55 to 64.
Psychologist Tara de Thouars said it was important to address the issues as soon as possible, before it gave way to more complicated psychological conditions.
'A man suffering from hypogonadism probably will also suffer from erectile dysfunction, then, he will face psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety or stress, which will also eventually lead to problems with their partner,' Tara said.
The psychologist continued that it was unlikely for a man to admit to suffering from sexual dysfunction. This could potentially cause personal problems and could even extend to his relationship with his partner. Tara said that communication problems may arise from a change in behavior that may then make their partner feel rejected.
Self-awareness and acknowledgement of the symptoms in sexual dysfunction is an important first step in detecting hypogonadism.
Though physical signs may sometimes go unnoticed, Nugroho said there were several indicators to look out for, such as a loss of muscle mass, excessive hair fall, obesity (especially around the abdomen), gynecomastia (swelling of the breast tissue in men) and very small testicles.
According to Nugroho, there are two types of hypogonadism. Primary type is when the testicles are still receiving the message to produce hormones from the brain but are not able to produce it. While secondary hypogonadism centers in the brain where the hypothalamus and pituitary glands that controls the testicles are not working properly.
Hypogonadism could affect other parts of the body in what Nugroho called a 'metabolic problem triad', because it is closely linked to obesity and diabetes.
Hypogonadism could generally be treated with testosterone replacement therapy, but proper examination was important, he added.(+)
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