Definition - What does Gonad mean?

Gonad is a general term used to reference a man’s testes or a woman’s ovaries. Gonads are the source for all sexual production material, including sperm, eggs, and the sex hormones that regulate and control the reproduction system. Gonad disorders have the potential to disrupt fertility in both men and women.

FertilitySmarts explains Gonad

In men, gonad refers to the testes, or testicles, which produce sperm and testosterone. When functioning normally, the hormones control the development of the pubescent male body, including hair growth, shoulder widening, and voice deepening. Sperm produced in the testes is the male contribution to a pregnancy, and testosterone controls a man’s sexual reproductive system. Any complication of this system can lead to hypogonadism, when the testicles fail to function, causing sexual dysfunctional and infertility.

In women, the gonads are comprised of the ovaries, which are responsible for producing the female sex cell, the egg, and the hormones the regulate the female reproductive system. These hormones control the development of the pubescent female body, including breast growth and body hair development. They also control menstrual cycle regulation and pregnancy.

In women, gonadal disorders are typically considered menstrual disorders. They are caused by an imbalance of the sex hormones progesterone or estrogen, and may be caused by a dysfunctional thyroid. Menstrual disorders can cause the following:

  • Early puberty
  • Late puberty
  • Abnormal periods
  • Anovulation
  • Ovarian cyst
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Early menopause
  • Infertility

In both men and women, gonad disorders are treated with hormone replacement therapy to rebalance the sex hormone causing the complications. Additional treatment may be based on a specific condition, such as thyroid tumors.

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