The endocrine system plays a critical role in human reproduction and sexuality. In men, the testes (testicles) produce testosterone, a hormone that 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, hormones responsible for female development and maintaining pregnancy.
Important reproductive health issues in men include:
- Prostate concerns, including enlarged prostate and prostate cancer
- Male hypogonadism—effects (symptoms) of low testosterone and consistently lower than normal levels of testosterone in the blood
- Male infertility—inability to produce sperm adequate for reproduction
- Erectile dysfunction—inability to get or keep an erection from enough for sexual intercourse
- Decreased libido—reduced sexual desire or interest
If you have a reproductive health problem, the first step towards resolving it is getting an accurate diagnosis. For that, you should consult a medical specialist such as an endocrinologist who is an expert in reproductive problems. After a diagnosis, your doctor will describe your treatment options. Many problems can be managed with the use of hormone therapy. This section will discuss the different reproductive health issues in men, and help you navigate the next steps towards getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.