Sex gonadal hormones and antagonists steroid hormones

Unfortunately, the sterility is not remedied, although loss of libido and of secondary sex characteristics can be greatly improved. Impotence is helped if it is hypogonadal, but not if it has a psychological cause (which is often the case).

For male contraception androgens are under trial; they inhibit pituitary gonadotrophin production and have a direct testicular action.

If androgen is given to a boy with delayed puberty, a growth spurt and sexual development will occur. Such treatment is not usually indicated until the age of 16 years since up to that age natural delay in pituitary secretion may be responsible and normal development may yet occur.

In hepatic cirrhosis degradation of oestrogens in the liver may be impaired, leading to raised blood concentrations of oestrogen with féminisation; androgens may help such patients. They may also stop the itching of biliary obstruction. Androgens may also help in some cases of anaemia due to bone marrow failure. Androgens are now little used in metastatic breast cancer because of their virilising effects.

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