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Hypergonadotropic hypogonadism


Hypergonadotropic hypogonadism (HH), also known as primary or peripheral/gonadal hypogonadism, is a condition which is characterized by hypogonadism due to an impaired response of the gonads to the gonadotropins, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), and in turn a lack of sex steroid production and elevated gonadotropin levels (as an attempt of compensation by the body). HH may present as either "congenital" or "acquired", but the majority of cases are of the former nature.


Examples of symptoms of hypogonadism include delayed, reduced, or absent puberty, low libido, and infertility.


There are a multitude of different etiologies of HH. Congenital causes include the following:

- Chromosomal abnormalities (resulting in gonadal dysgenesis) - Turner's syndrome, Klinefelter's syndrome, Swyer's syndrome, XX gonadal dysgenesis, and mosaicism.

- Defects in the enzymes involved in the gonadal biosynthesis of the sex hormones - 17α-hydroxylase deficiency, 17,20-lyase deficiency, 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase III deficiency, and lipoid congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

- Gonadotropin resistance (e.g., due to inactivating mutations in the gonadotropin receptors) - Leydig cell hypoplasia (or insensitivity to LH) in males, FSH insensitivity in females, and LH and FSH resistance due to mutations in the "GNAS" gene (termed pseudohypoparathyroidism type 1A).

Acquired causes (due to damage to or dysfunction of the gonads) include ovarian torsion, vanishing/anorchia, orchitis, premature ovarian failure, ovarian resistance syndrome, trauma, surgery, autoimmunity, chemotherapy, radiation, infections (e.g., sexually-transmitted diseases), toxins (e.g., endocrine disruptors), and drugs (e.g., antiandrogens, opioids, alcohol).


Treatment of HH is usually with hormone replacement therapy, consisting of androgen and estrogen administration in males and females, respectively.