Andrology is the study of the function and diseases of men, particularly of male reproductive health. In urology, we think of andrology focusing especially on male infertility and androgen (male sex hormone) deficiency.
Male infertility has a variety of causes, ranging from hormonal problems to blockage of genital tract ducts such as the vas deferens (tube carrying sperm from the testis). Whilst the underlying problem should be sought, it may not be correctable, and sometimes must be “bypassed” by using assisted reproductive techniques to achieve pregnancy. One such technique is IVF (in vitro fertilization) and ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) which uses sperm that has been obtained directly from the testis and is microscopically injected into an ovum (egg).
Androgens, such as testosterone, are not only required for male fertility, they also play an important role in determining a man’s energy levels, muscle strength, bone density and libido (sex drive). Androgen deficiency can therefore lead to a reduction in each of these areas. It can occur at any age, but is increasingly recognized as being associated with the ageing process. Most androgens are produced by the testes, where an abnormality may lead to deficiency. However, the testes respond to hormonal messages from the pituitary gland (which sits directly below the brain), so that abnormal pituitary gland function may also lead to androgen deficiency. It is important to determine the cause, as androgen deficiency may be a sign of underlying illness. When symptomatic, androgen deficiency is amenable to highly effective treatments.
For a consultation with one of our urologists or visiting andrologists, please call 03 8506 3600 to make an appointment.