A Leydig cell tumor is one of the types of testicular tumors that can lead to feminizing, meaning it can induce female sexual characteristics in men. For instance, when you have a Leydig cell tumor, your breasts can become quite enlarged, which is a condition called gynecomastia.
Around 10% of Leydig cell tumor cases are malignant. What’s even more worrisome about Leydig cell tumors is that they can be accompanied by other types of sex cord-stromal tumors or germ cell tumors. Learn more about this uncommon condition that can rob you of your sexual virility and make you feminized.
Leydig cells are also referred to as interstitial cells. These cells surround your seminiferous tubules, the structures that produce sperm in your testes. Leydig cells have several functions, foremost of which is the production of testosterone.
Leydig cell tumors can happen to any male. However, research indicates that when a Leydig cell tumor grows, it usually happens to boys around 5-10 years of age or to adult men aged 30-35 years old.
There have been cases wherein Leydig cell tumors were found in men with cryptorchidism or undescended testes. When you develop a Leydig cell tumor, you will notice a painless lump of mass in the affected testicle.
One of the main concerns about Leydig cell tumors is that they can secrete androgens, estrogens, or even both. This means that your hormonal balance will be severely affected. Any bodily function influenced by testosterone or estrogen will also be impaired.
Leydig cell tumors may spread through your blood or through your retroperitoneal lymph nodes. However, unlike other tumors that grow in the testicles, Leydig cell tumors are typically non-responsive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which makes them more difficult to treat.
Symptoms of Leydig Cell Tumors
There are cases when a Leydig cell tumor does not present any symptoms. However, when the tumor grows and it starts secreting either estrogen or testosterone, then you may experience several symptoms at once. When you develop a Leydig cell tumor, you will feel a palpable nodule or mass in the affected testicle.
When it happens to a boy who hasn’t reached puberty yet, the symptoms may differ greatly, depending on whether the tumor is secreting androgen or estrogen. If the tumor is androgen-secreting, then the boy will experience a precocious puberty, meaning he will go through puberty much earlier than other boys his age.
Boys who go through a precocious puberty may have enlarged testicles or penis. Their voices will deepen, and they may even grow facial hair, underarm hair, and pubic hair. They may grow rapidly, and they may also suffer from acne.
However, if the Leydig cell tumor is secreting estrogens, then the boy will manifest feminizing symptoms. The chances that the boy will develop gynecomastia are high. He may also experience delayed penis growth. Growth of pubic hair will also be delayed, or it may not grow at all.
On the other hand, if a Leydig cell tumor grows when you’re an adult already, you’ll experience a different set of symptoms. If your Leydig cell tumor is androgen-secreting, you will most likely be asymptomatic, meaning you won’t show any observable symptoms.
However, if the tumor is estrogen-secreting, then you will have a lot of problems. Just like any condition that causes an excess of estrogen and a deficiency of testosterone, you will most likely suffer from sexual dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction, infertility, and loss of libido are common symptoms in men with estrogen-secreting tumors.
In addition, your breast tissues may also become enlarged. You may suffer from a feminine hair distribution, meaning growing a mustache or goatee is highly unlikely. Moreover, you may also suffer from gonadogenital atrophy, which is another problem by itself.
Gonadogenital atrophy means that your penis and your testicles will shrink. Your testicles, not your scrotum, will become smaller. Your penis will also be reduced in size. When gonadogenital atrophy happens, you actually lose tissues in your testicles and penis. Hence, your penile and testicular functions will also become impaired.
Additional symptoms include pain or discomfort in your testicles and a heavy feeling in your scrotum. You may also suffer from lower abdomen or back pain. As the tumor grows, your testicle may become enlarged.
If a Leydig cell tumor is producing a combination of androgen, estrogen, and corticosteroids, chances are higher that the tumor will become malignant. Experts are still trying to determine what factors influence the development and growth of Leydig cell tumors.
Since Leydig cell tumors do not respond well to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, a radical orchiectomy is usually done to get rid of the tumor. Before you go through a radical orchiectomy, you should discuss it thoroughly with your doctor since you’ll be losing one or both of your testicles. And that has a lot of negative consequences.
Even though a radical orchiectomy can take only an hour or so to perform, the complications can last a long time. Since you’ll only have one testicle left, you’ll suffer from long-term side effects associated with testosterone deficiency. These include loss of erectile function, loss of fertility, loss of libido, hot flashes, osteoporosis, and depression.
Fortunately, testis-sparing surgical techniques have been developed. However, a testicle-sparing surgery can only be done if the tumor is benign and has not yet spread. Hence, when the tumor is detected early, you can have a testis-sparing surgery to get rid of the tumor. If the tumor is already malignant, however, you’ll need a radical orchiectomy.
Enhancing Your Sexual Virility
You don’t need to suffer from a tumor in order for you to start taking care of your sexual virility. As with any other bodily functions, your sexual virility also starts deteriorating when you grow older. To combat the effects of aging on your sexual function, you should take an all-natural male enhancement supplement.
Among the numerous male sex enhancement supplements available today, this is one of the most widely-used. That’s because it is known for its unique formula consisting of natural ingredients. It contains maca, damiana, horny goat weed, Tribulus terrestris, muira puama, and Tongkat Ali.
With these herbal ingredients, it makes it possible for you to restore your sexual virility. It can help you regain your libido while increasing your testosterone levels and improving your erectile function.