Reproduction Diseases and Disorders
Progesterone and testosterone are two hormones whose dysfunction could significantly cause reproduction problems. Whereas testosterone is mainly produced and found in men, progesterone is mainly produced by women but could also be found in men and children.
Progesterone is a hormone produced in both men and women but women of the reproductive age produce it and need it the most. Progesterone is necessary for full sexual function and reproduction. In terms of production, the hormone production decreases with age. Subsequently, children and post-menopausal women produce very small amounts while child bearing women produce high amounts of the hormone. In women, progesterone is mainly produced in the ovaries and is needed for the production of other sex hormones such as estrogen, corticosteroids and glucocorticoids. It is also the hormone that prepares the uterus for implantation and pregnancy by helping to thicken the lining of the uterus. The hormone is also necessary for maintaining a pregnancy after a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus.
Progesterone dysfunction occurs when a woman’s ovaries are not producing the required amounts of the hormone. Low levels of progesterone could significantly affect reproduction and the ability to get pregnant. A dysfunction in progesterone production could lead to problems in the thickening of the uterus lining in readiness for pregnancy. Progesterone dysfunction could also reduce the chances of carrying a pregnancy to term as the hormone is needed to maintain a pregnancy. Low levels of the hormone could lead to several other conditions and disorders related to reproduction including endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), miscarriage and infertility.
Testosterone is a hormone produced mainly by men in the testicles. Small amounts are also produced in the adrenal glands. This hormone is necessary for sperm production, sex drive and sexual function. The hormone is also responsible for facial and body hair, bone mass, muscle mass, and the development of penis and testes. Testosterone is also important for good health as some of it is converted to estrogen, a female sex hormone that helps to increase bone mass. The hormone is produced in large amounts among men of reproductive age, particularly those aged between puberty and 60. Just like progesterone hormone production, testosterone hormone production decreases with age. Men that are older than 60 have higher chances of having low levels of testosterone.
A dysfunction in the hormone could result in low testosterone levels and this could lead to a range of symptoms, some of which could make it difficult to reproduce or fertilize an egg. One such impact is difficulty in erection as the hormone plays a critical role in achieving and maintaining an erection. Whereas low levels of testosterone could lead to a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED), other factors could also cause ED. Low testosterone levels could also affect the production of semen, the fluid that helps the sperms to swim during ejaculation. Low levels of semen reduce the chances of fertilizing an egg. The dysfunction of the hormone in men could also lead to a low sex drive and this reduces the desire to have sex, a situation that could make it difficult to fertilize an egg (Saad et al., 2007).
While personally, I have not had an experience with sexual hormone dysfunction, I have heard of actual cases of women who developed PCOS as a result of low progesterone levels. These women experienced difficulties in getting pregnant.