Hypogonadism and diabetes

Int J Impot Res. 2003 Aug:15 Suppl 4:S14-20. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijir.3901031.


Clinicians have been aware of the increased prevalence of low testosterone levels in patients with type II diabetes for several years, but how these two conditions are associated is difficult to determine. Older age and obesity may be factors, as both are associated with type II diabetes and both decrease testosterone levels. Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), the major serum carrier protein for testosterone, also may have an impact. SHBG levels fall with obesity and increase with aging. Some studies indicate lower SHBG levels in type II diabetes. Most of the differences in testosterone levels between diabetic and nondiabetic patients may be due to reduced SHBG, rather than reduced testosterone production. However, free testosterone levels fall with increasing age and obesity, rendering many type II diabetic patients testosterone deficient. Testosterone replacement may improve insulin sensitivity in hypogonadal, overweight men with type II diabetes by altering body composition, but studies are conflicting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism* / complications
  • Hypogonadism* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / analysis
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / physiology
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / deficiency
  • Testosterone / metabolism
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use


  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone