Hypergonadism is a medical condition characterized by abnormally high levels of reproductive hormones such as estrogen or testosterone. There are a variety of potential causes of this type of hormonal imbalance, including genetic factors, autoimmune diseases, or the presence of tumors. Symptoms may include the early onset of puberty, increased body hair, or increased sex drive.
Treatment options vary according to the underlying cause as well as the age and overall health of the patient and may include hormonal therapy or surgical intervention. Any specific questions or concerns about the development of hypergonadism in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.
Regardless of the gender of the patient, symptoms of hypergonadism are essentially the same for males and females. If this condition develops during childhood, it may cause early-onset puberty. Increased hair growth is a common symptom of this condition and may involve the face, pubic area, and body. A person with this condition is likely to experience an increase in muscle mass and may be prone to developing skin eruptions such as acne. As this is a hormonal disorder, mood swings are often reported among those with this type of imbalance.
While there can be a multitude of causes for the development of hypergonadism, tumors affecting the adrenal glands are a leading cause of this hormonal abnormality. The adrenal glands are located just above each kidney and are responsible for producing several types of hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Most of these tumors are non-cancerous, although a minor surgical procedure known as a biopsy may be performed to make sure.
Hormone therapy is the standard form of treatment for those with hypergonadism. This can be a bit tricky because it is much easier to add hormones to the body than to remove them. A combination of hormones may need to be used, and it may take a significant amount of time for the supervising physician to find the best combination and dosage for the individual situation.
If adrenal cortex tumors are found to be present, the doctor may opt to remove them if possible in an effort to restore normal function to the adrenal glands. Occasionally, the affected gland may need to be partially or completely removed as well. After removal, a tissue sample from the tumor is sent to an outside laboratory for further testing. Radiation treatments or chemotherapy may be used if cancerous cells are found as a result of these tests.