Hypergonadism is a condition in which your gonads overproduce hormones. Gonads are your reproductive glands. In men, gonads are the testes. In women, they’re the ovaries. As a result of hypergonadism, you can end up with higher-than-normal levels of testosterone and estrogen.
Causes of Hypergonadism
There are several health conditions that are known to cause hypergonadism. Some of them include:
Tumors (benign or malignant) in the ovaries or testes
Liver or kidney disease
Some autoimmune disorders, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Addison’s disease
Genetic hormonal abnormality
Injury (lesion) to the pituitary gland, genital glands, pineal glands, adrenal glands, or endocrine glands
Symptoms of Hypergonadism
Some symptoms of hypergonadism and precocious puberty are unique to each sex.
In girls, hypergonadism can cause:
Early and irregular menstrual cycles
Early breast development
Coarse body hair
In boys, hypergonadism can cause:
More muscle mass
Increased sex drive
Spontaneous erections and nocturnal emissions
Diagnosis of Hypergonadism
If hypergonadism is suspected, your doctor may order a blood test to see if hormone levels are unusually elevated.
Additional tests might include a pelvic ultrasound to get a more detailed view of the adrenal glands and other parts, such as the ovaries (for women).
Brain imaging may be done to look for tumors of the pituitary gland.
Complications of Hypergonadism
Aside from acne and other physical changes, such as facial hair on women and more breast tissue in men, hypergonadism can cause some more serious complications.
Hypergonadism can interfere with regular menstrual cycles.
That can make it difficult for women to become pregnant.
Men may also have fertility challenges, especially if their hypogonadism was caused by anabolic steroid use.
Anabolic steroids can affect testicular health, including reducing the production of sperm.
Generally, the complications associated with hypergonadism are related to the underlying cause.
Treating the cause may help reduce symptoms and complications brought on by hypergonadism.
Treatment of Hypergonadism
Treating hypergonadism is difficult. The goal is to reduce hormone levels, which is more difficult than trying to increase hormone levels.
The hormonal treatments that are administered for hypergonadism include a combination of hormones tailored to your particular levels.
This can be a slow process. It may take some time to find the right mix of hormones at the right dosages.
If a specific cause can be diagnosed, then treatment will also focus on caring for that condition.
If a gland has a tumor, for instance, it may be necessary to surgically remove the tumor.
If the cause is severe underactive thyroid, you may be prescribed strong doses of thyroid medication to help restore healthier body chemistry.