The gonads are the female and male primary reproductive organs. In males, the gonads are the testes and, in females, the gonads are the ovaries. These organs are necessary for sexual stimulation, as they are liable for the creation of sperm and eggs. These are the female and male gametes (a cell that unifies with another mobile during childbirth ).
Gonads also produce the sex hormones necessary for the growth and development of your primary and secondary reproductive organs and structures. In women, estrogen and progesterone are secreted from the ovaries and act during the menstrual cycle to prepare the uterus for pregnancy or menstruation. In men, the testes produce testosterone which stimulates sperm production. In both males and females, these hormones maintain secondary sexual characteristics such as breast development and hair development.
What Happens When Things Go Wrong?
Gonadal failure, also known as hypogonadism, is what happens when the gonads cease working as efficiently as they once did. They may create only a tiny amount of hormones or none at all. This diminished functioning may result in low androgen (testosterone) and estrogen levels, in addition to a decrease in other hormones made by the gonads. Sperm production (in males) and ovulation (in females) may be impaired, and this might then result in partial or complete infertility.
This lack of these sexual hormones may also result in faulty sexual growth, or in unwanted effects (premature menopause) in adults.
How Will I Know I’m Experiencing Gonadal Failure?
This illness usually becomes evident during puberty. Women will fail to menstruate, which might affect their stature and breast growth.
The start of gonadal failure in girls after puberty causes the cessation of menstruation, lowered libido, loss of body hair, and hot flashes.
In men, gonadal failure can lead to impaired muscle and blossom development and decreased height. Additionally, it may cause reduced body hair, enlarged breasts, the loss of muscular, and sexual difficulties.
Laboratory tests to determine gonadal failure include blood tests for estrogen, follicle stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone in women and testosterone in males. A sperm count and genetic tests may also be done.
What Causes Gonadal Failure?
This failure of the gonads may be brought about by both congenital and developmental disorders, infections, injury, surgery, toxic exposure, alcohol, drugs, and cancer therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy. Severe diseases from the kidneys or liver, certain infections, sickle cell anemia, and some cancers also affect the gonads.
More especially, the youth disease known as mumps, if acquired after puberty, can infect and destroy the testicles–a disease called viral orchitis.
Sometimes the pituitary develops a tumor which destroys it. Failure of the thyroid gland is called hypopituitarism, and it leaves the gonads with no stimulation to create hormones.
Hormone replacement therapy is sometimes an option, but this therapy can carry other health dangers. Girls and women can take estrogen and progesterone for a pill or skin patch. Men and boys may take testosterone for a skin patch, skin gel, or by means of injection.
To boost fertility, some girls can use injections or drugs that stimulate childbirth despite hypogonadism. Men may have improved sperm production with injections of adrenal hormone.