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Reproduction & Sexuality
Diseases & Conditions | What is an Endocrinologist? | Find an Endocrinologist | The Endocrine System | Patient Resources
The endocrine system plays a critical role in human reproduction and sexuality. In men, the testes produce testosterone, which brings about the physical changes that transform a boy into an adult male. Throughout life, testosterone helps maintain muscle and bone mass, sperm production, and sex drive. Women's ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, which are responsible for female development and maintaining pregnancy.
Changes in the levels of male and female hormones can be caused by a variety of factors, and can result in impotence or erectile dysfunction in men and infertility and low sex drive in both sexes.
Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, can result in overproduction of testosterone and other health problems in women. Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common hormonal disorder of women of reproductive age, and is one of the leading reasons for infertility. Other causes of infertility in women include an imbalance of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Reasons for infertility in men include damage to the testes and, rarely, hormone deficiency.
Learn more about the causes of infertility in both men and women, polycystic ovary syndrome, and the roles hormones play in human reproduction and sexuality in The Hormone Health Network's collection of fact sheets and patient guides, listed below.