Feb 22, 2022
On today's show, we have the honor of speaking with Evelyn Gamble. Evelyn has been dealing with a condition called Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism, a form of hypogonadism that is due to a problem with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. Hypogonadism is a condition in which the male testes or the female ovaries produce little or no sex hormones. (credits: Medline Plus)
Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism can be congenital or acquired. Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is divided into anosmic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (Kallmann syndrome) and congenital normosmic isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism). The incidence of congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is approximately 1-10:100,000 live births, and approximately 2/3 and 1/3 of cases are caused by Kallmann syndrome (KS) and idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, respectively. Acquired hypogonadotropic hypogonadism can be caused by drugs, infiltrative or infectious pituitary lesions, hyperprolactinemia, encephalic trauma, pituitary/brain radiation, exhausting exercise, abusive alcohol or illicit drug intake, and systemic diseases such as hemochromatosis, sarcoidosis and histiocytosis X. The clinical characteristics of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism are androgen deficiency and a lack/delay/stop of pubertal sexual maturation. Low blood testosterone levels and low pituitary hormone levels confirm the hypogonadotropic hypogonadism diagnosis. A prolonged stimulated intravenous GnRH test can be useful. In Kallmann syndrome, cerebral MRI can show an anomalous morphology or even absence of the olfactory bulb.
Therapy for hypogonadotropic hypogonadism depends on the patient's desire for future fertility. Hormone replacement with testosterone is the classic treatment for hypogonadism. Androgen replacement is indicated for men who already have children or have no desire to induce pregnancy, and testosterone therapy is used to reverse the symptoms and signs of hypogonadism. Conversely, GnRH or gonadotropin therapies are the best options for men wishing to have children. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is one of the rare conditions in which specific medical treatment can reverse infertility.
When an unassisted pregnancy is not achieved, assisted reproductive techniques ranging from intrauterine insemination to in vitro fertilization to the acquisition of viable sperm from the ejaculate or directly from the testes through testicular sperm extraction or testicular microdissection can also be used, depending on the woman's potential for pregnancy and the quality and quantity of the sperm. (Credits: NIH)