If testosterone deficiency occurs during foetal development, then masculinisation of the foetus will fail to occur normally and this may give rise to disorders of sex development. If testosterone deficiency occurs during puberty, a boy’s growth may slow and no growth spurt will be seen. The child may also fail to develop full sexual characteristics (hypogonadism) associated with men undergoing puberty, including development of pubic hair, growth of the penis and testes and deepening of the voice. Around the time of puberty, boys with too little testosterone may also have less than normal strength and endurance, and their arms and legs may continue to grow out of proportion with the rest of their body.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands of both sexes and in the testes of males and the ovaries of females. Testosterone is largely responsible for the formation and maintenance of male sex characteristics, including both the larger bone and muscle development seen in males. The testosterone levels in humans are regulated by hormones released from the brain; in males the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain increase testosterone during puberty and male characteristics develop (for example, penile enlargement, facial hair, interest in sex).