Hypogonadism: Care Instructions

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Men who have hypogonadism do not make enough testosterone. This hormone regulates a man's sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass (and strength), and the production of red blood cells and sperm. The condition also is known as testosterone deficiency. It can lead to loss of sex drive, weakness, impotence, infertility, and weakened bones.

Many things can cause this condition. Causes may include injured testicles, certain medicines, or an infection. Having a long-term health problem such as kidney or liver disease or being obese can cause it. So can surgery or radiation treatment for another health problem. It also can be present at birth. It is most often treated with testosterone hormone. You can get the hormone as a shot or through a patch or gel on the skin.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • When you're taking testosterone, follow your doctor's instructions. Testosterone can help relieve many of the effects of this condition, such as a low sex drive. But it may take weeks or months for your symptoms to improve.
  • Follow your schedule for blood tests. Monitoring your blood levels is important when you are taking testosterone.
  • Get plenty of exercise. And make sure to get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Eat more dairy foods and green vegetables. They can help keep your bones from getting weak.
  • If you have a hard time dealing with this condition, talk to your doctor about joining a support group. Talking with others who have the same problems can help you cope.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have headaches.
  • You have problems with your vision.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have trouble getting or keeping an erection.
  • You have a loss of body hair.
  • You feel weak or tired a lot of the time.
  • Your breasts are getting larger or are painful.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.