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What Are the Causes of Your Body Not Producing Enough Testosterone?

by
author image Erica Roth
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.
What Are the Causes of Your Body Not Producing Enough Testosterone?
Depressed young man sitting on a chair backwards, looking down Photo Credit Evgeny Sergeev/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Testosterone, an androgen male hormone, is present in both males and females. The testicles produce testosterone in men and the ovaries are in charge of female testosterone production. Testosterone is essential for the normal development of sex characteristics in males, and fertility in both genders. MedlinePlus states that normal levels of testosterone range from 300 to 1,200 ng/dL--nanograms per decliter--in men and 30 to 95 ng/dL in women. Certain medical conditions can cause your body to not produce enough testosterone.

Tumors

Tumors on your pituitary gland can cause your body to start producing less testosterone. The pituitary gland is located near the base of the brain and produces hormones of its own to manage almost all of the body's functions, according to MayoClinic.com. Prolactinoma is a condition in which benign growths attach to the pituitary gland and cause it to make more of a hormone called prolactin. An overabundance of prolactin can cause other hormones to become unbalanced, so testosterone production can drop. Prolactinoma is benign in the sense that the tumors are not cancerous, but the condition can be dangerous nonetheless. The hormonal imbalance can lead to fertility issues, vision impairment, erectile dysfunction and a loss of bone density.

Pituitary Gland Failure

Another type of pituitary condition, called pituitary gland failure, or hypopituitarism, can result in a reduction of testosterone production. In this case the pituitary gland doesn't produce enough of its own hormones, which can affect testosterone production. MayoClinic.com offers a long list of possible causes for hypopituitarism, including brain tumors and other kinds of head injuries, autoimmune disease, stroke, meningitis and genetic abnormalities.

Testicular Failure

Testicular failure, also called hypogonadism, means that the male body doesn't produce either testosterone or sperm. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists explains that men with this condition can develop testicular failure either before or after puberty; characteristics include smaller-than-average genitalia, enlarged breasts--called gynecomastia--little body hair, underdeveloped muscles and a high-pitched voice. Hypogonadism and the associated lack of testosterone can be the result of trauma or injury, drug use, including opiods, testicular cancer, mumps and chromosomal irregularities.

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