While female hormones may get more media attention, male hormones are just as critical to reproductive health. When the body produces too little or too much of any of the male sex hormones, it can have a detrimental effect. A thorough check-up with a urologist who specializes in male reproductive/sexual health may be the best way to ensure that your hormones are in balance. If you and your partner are hoping to get pregnant at some point in the near future, then this may be a critical first step.
What Part of the Body Is Responsible for Male Hormones?
Several glands in the male body combine to form the endocrine system. It is this system that produces and releases sex hormones into the body. Chiefly, it is the testes that are responsible for releasing the male sex hormone. This gland also is responsible for the production of sperm and testosterone.
Another gland that has a role in reproductive health is the adrenal gland. With its ability to manage sex drive, it’s clear why a fully functional adrenal gland may be critical to successful reproduction.
Although the pituitary gland is not directly responsible for reproduction or sexual function, it is considered as the gland that helps to regulate and control all of the others. Accordingly, healthy pituitary gland function is important to overall health.
The Male Hormonal Cycle
The female hormonal cycle is well established to last an average of 28 days. However, the male hormonal cycle lasts just 24 hours. These rapid changes can be problematic, especially if the endocrine system is operating at a sub-optimal level.
Testosterone levels tend to peak in the morning, which may mean increased libido, vitality and energy. These levels generally drop throughout the day, and things like stress and illness can have a detrimental effect.
Possible Causes of Male Infertility
Aside from regulating everything from muscle mass, emotions, and sex drive, male sex hormones play an important role in male fertility as they impact the production and healthiness of sperm. A deficiency in male sex hormones can be a possible cause of male infertility. Testosterone, the most recognizable male sex hormone, impacts almost all processes in a man’s body, especially sexual and reproductive health.
Other less well-known hormones may also impact a man’s fertility. Austin male fertility specialist, Dr. Parviz Kavoussi notes that imbalances in hormones such as male follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) or the luteinizing hormone (LH) also may be factors. LH directly stimulates testosterone production in the testes. Having too little or too much LH can lead to male infertility. Lower than normal levels of FSH also can contribute to male infertility and an elevation in FSH levels is a marker of testicular cell dysfunction in producing sperm.
The anterior pituitary gland is responsible for the production of LH and FSH sex hormones, and a growth called an adenoma or other adverse condition may affect this production. While deficiencies in these sex hormones could be the culprit of infertility, low testosterone (low T) is the most commonly identified male hormonal deficiency. Trauma to the testes, a prior surgery, varicoceles (abnormally dilated veins around the testicles), cancer treatments and certain ailments all may affect the production of testosterone.
Low Testosterone Treatment
Men with low T can use testosterone replacement therapy to bring the hormone back to normal levels. Dr. Kavoussi cautions that treatment for men with low testosterone who want to become dads avoid testosterone replacement therapy that could negatively lower male fertility. These replacement therapies include topical gels or injections that can suppress sperm production. Instead, men should look at getting treated with clomiphene citrate (also known as clomid citrate), a medication that can help with increasing testosterone levels naturally while preserving male fertility.
Learn more about the treatment of Low T that can safely preserve male fertility:
A reproductive urologist is an effective ally when it comes to enhancing male fertility. When a couple has tried unsuccessfully for a year to conceive and the female partner is less than 35 years of age, or after 6 months with a female partner greater than 35 years of age, it’s important for both the woman and the man to seek professional help from fertility specialists. For a man that means consulting and getting evaluated by a reproductive urologist. With a focus on overall health and reproductive health in particular, it may be possible to diagnose the underlying causes of infertility and provide the right treatment plan. Dr. Kavoussi explains, “By seeking the help of a male fertility doctor, a man can assess all factors involved including reproductive hormones that may be responsible for infertility.”