Sexual Dysfunctions and Reproductive Failure Help

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Aug 30, 2011

Introduction to Sexual Dysfunctions and Reproductive Failure

A sexual dysfunction (dis- FUNK -shun) is a type of “bad, painful, or difficult” (dys-) failure of reproduction. There are many specific types of sexual dysfunction – some involving the male reproductive pathway, some involving the female reproductive pathway – so that successful production of a zygote is prevented. The normal patterns of Biological Order leading to fertilization are either interrupted or blocked.

Male Sexual Dysfunction

One important type of sexual dysfunction in males is infertility ( in -fer- TILL -ih-tee) – the inability to produce living spermatozoa that can fertilize an ovum. One fairly common cause of infertility is cryptorchidism ( krip-TOR -kid- ih -zum). Cryptorchidism is a “condition of” (-ism) “hidden” (crypt) “testes” (orchid). Cryptorchidism occurs when one or both of the testes fail to descend out of the abdominal cavity, and into the scrotum. If such undescended testes remain within the abdominal cavity for too long a period after birth, the high internal body temperature may kill the germinal epithelium in the wall of the seminiferous tubules. Thus, no fertile spermatozoa are produced.

Female Sexual Dysfunction

Females, too, can suffer from infertility, among many other types of possible sexual dysfunctions. Female infertility is often due to either hypersecretion (excessive secretion) or hyposecretion (deficient secretion) of particular hormones. Consider, for example, the important hormone, thyroxine. Recollect (Chapter 15) that thyroxine helps regulate the basal metabolic rate (BMR), the rate at which body cells operate and burn calories under basal (resting) conditions.

In hypothyroidism ( HIGH -poh- THIGH -royd-izm), there is a “deficient or below normal” (hypo-) activity of the thyroid gland. As a result, hyposecretion of thyroxine slows down the metabolism of the female ovaries. When the ovaries are seriously underactive, ovulation may be postponed or even blocked. Female sterility is one unfortunate result.

Practice problems for these concepts can be found at:  Urine and Sex in Animals Test

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