Frequent testicular involvement in multibacillary leprosy

Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Jan:90:60-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2019.10.013. Epub 2019 Oct 18.


Objective: Testicular involvement or atrophy in leprosy is silent, unreported, and under-estimated. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of testicular atrophy and its consequences through the examination of clinical manifestations, hormonal profile, and semen analysis in leprosy patients.

Methods: A descriptive observational study using a cross-sectional design and consecutive sampling method was conducted from May to July 2018. The study was conducted in Dr. Hasan Sadikin General Hospital, Bandung, Indonesia and included 32 men affected by leprosy and five healthy men as a control group. All patients were subjected to history-taking, dermatological and genital examinations, assessment of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and testosterone, and testicular ultrasonography examination. Semen analysis was performed for the 10 patients who consented.

Results: Testicular atrophy was observed in 93.75% of patients. Clinical manifestations of testicular atrophy were loss of libido (21.87%), female pubic hair pattern (9.38%), gynecomastia (6.25%), and secondary infertility (6.25%). Hormonal imbalance was seen in 16 patients, and all 10 patients who underwent semen analysis showed an abnormality.

Conclusions: This study showed a high frequency of testicular atrophy, but the symptoms were only present in a few of patients. The assessment of testicular function should be recommended as a routine work-up for leprosy patients.

Keywords: Leprosy; Male fertility; Testicular atrophy; Testosterone.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Indonesia
  • Leprostatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Leprostatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Leprosy, Multibacillary / drug therapy*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Semen / metabolism
  • Testicular Diseases / blood
  • Testicular Diseases / etiology
  • Testicular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Testis / diagnostic imaging
  • Testis / metabolism
  • Testis / physiopathology
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Leprostatic Agents
  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone