If you’re a man who doesn’t have enough testosterone coursing through your veins, the effects are unmistakable: low libido, erectile dysfunction, shrinking muscles, and fatigue — to name a few. It’s a fairly common condition that’s often easily treatable, but it depends on the cause.
Our team of specialists at Ally Endocrinology in Troy, Michigan , addresses low testosterone with a variety of treatments that can replace or rebalance your hormones. These treatments are particularly important if you have Klinefelter syndrome, a genetic condition that affects your body’s ability to produce testosterone.
Understanding Klinefelter syndrome
All humans have 46 chromosomes, two of which determine their gender. Normally, girls are born with two X chromosomes, and boys are born with an X and a Y chromosome.
But due to a random error, some boys are born with an extra copy of the X chromosome in each of their cells. This is called Klinefelter syndrome. This duplicate chromosome can lead to small testicles and low to no testosterone production, which can affect physical development and fertility.
How to spot the signs of Klinefelter syndrome
Often, Klinefelter syndrome goes unnoticed and undiagnosed through a boy’s lifetime and doesn’t become problematic until later in life. But the type and severity of the symptoms vary widely from individual to individual, and they look different depending on age.
Newborns and infants may show early signs of Klinefleter syndrome in the form of delayed motor development, delayed speech, weakness, and a failure of the testicles to descend.
Young boys and adolescents
When signs of Klinefelter syndrome appear during puberty and adolescence, they manifest in several ways, including:
- Physical stature: tall with long legs, a short torso, and wide hips
- Delayed or absent puberty
- Shyness and fatigue
- Small penis and testicles
- Soft, enlarged breast tissue
Boys and young men with Klinefelter syndrome may be awkward in social situations, have difficulty communicating emotions, and have trouble with assignments in school.
If you’ve made it to adulthood without suffering any symptoms of Klinefelter syndrome and are just now discovering it, you’re likely seeing the classic signs of low testosterone:
- Less body hair
- Weak bones
- Enlarged breasts
- Excess belly fat
- Low muscle mass
- Low sex drive
- Low sperm count
Because Klinefelter syndrome interferes with male sexual development, you may have any combination of these symptoms.
Is Klinefelter syndrome serious?
Testosterone is a critical hormone in the male body, so when it’s missing or in short supply, the effects are far-reaching. Chronic low T caused by this condition can lead to a number of complications, including:
- Mental and emotional disorders
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Lung disease
- Cancer (particularly breast cancer)
To avoid these complications, our team at Ally Endocrinology encourages you to schedule a visit for a thorough evaluation. Your treatment depends on several variables, including your age and whether the treatment is for physical symptoms, language learning challenges, or behavioral and social issues.
While testosterone replacement therapy is very successful for some people, it doesn’t work for everybody. When it’s successful, it can reduce most of the symptoms of low T.
If you have fertility problems — as up to 99% of all men with Klinefelter syndrome do — you may still have sperm. If so, you may be a good candidate for assisted reproductive treatment such as sperm extraction, called intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
If you or your son are living with any of the symptoms of Klinefelter syndrome, there’s hope for a more balanced life and relief from the effects of this genetic condition. To find out more, schedule an appointment with Ally Endocrinology by using our online form or calling our friendly staff today.