Importance: Male sex is associated with severe COVID-19. It is not known whether the risk of hospitalization differs between men with hypogonadism, men with eugonadism, and those receiving testosterone therapy (TTh). Objective: To compare COVID-19 hospitalization rates for men with hypogonadism who were not receiving TTh, men with eugonadism, and men receiving TTh. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study was conducted in 2 large academic health systems in St Louis, Missouri, among 723 men with a history of COVID-19 who had testosterone concentrations measured between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2021. Exposures: The primary exposure was gonadal status (hypogonadism, eugonadism, and TTh). Hypogonadism was defined as a total testosterone concentration below the limit of normal provided by the laboratory (which varied from 175 to 300 ng/dL [to convert to nanomoles per liter, multiply by 0.0347]). Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was rate of hospitalization for COVID-19. Statistical adjustments were made for group differences in age, body mass index, race and ethnicity, immunosuppression, and comorbid conditions. Results: Of the 723 study participants (mean [SD] age, 55 [14] years; mean [SD] body mass index, 33.5 [7.3]), 116 men had hypogonadism, 427 had eugonadism, and 180 were receiving TTh. Men with hypogonadism were more likely than men with eugonadism to be hospitalized with COVID-19 (52 of 116 [45%] vs 53 of 427 [12%]; P <.001). After multivariable adjustment, men with hypogonadism had higher odds than men with eugonadism of being hospitalized (odds ratio, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.4-4.4; P <.003). Men receiving TTh had a similar risk of hospitalization as men with eugonadism (odds ratio, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.7-2.3; P =.35). Men receiving inadequate TTh (defined as subnormal testosterone concentrations while receiving TTh) had higher odds of hospitalization compared with men who had normal testosterone concentrations while receiving TTh (multivariable adjusted odds ratio, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.5-8.6; P =.003). Conclusions and Relevance: This study suggests that men with hypogonadism were more likely to be hospitalized after COVID-19 infection compared with those with eugonadism, independent of other known risk factors. This increased risk was not observed among men receiving adequate TTh. Screening and appropriate therapy for hypogonadism need to be evaluated as a strategy to prevent severe COVID-19 outcomes among men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2229747
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2022


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