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History of Andrology

A Few Words about Andrology and the History of its Development...

According to the definition which has been proposed by the European Academy of Andrology for many years, Andrology is a branch of science which involves studying the normal and pathological states of the male reproductive system. However, in recent years the field of andrology research has included such problems as male sexual dysfunctions, male sterility and female sexual disorders.
About fifty years ago, andrology was practised by endocrinologists, gynaecologists, dermatologists, psychologists and urologists, who insisted that this branch of medicine should be within the area of their competence. Nevertheless, in the last 30-35 years, thanks to the selflessness of andrologists, andrology won great achievements, and in some countries you can find the ones who even admit that andrology is an independent area and field.(Nieschlag E: Scope and goals of Andrology. In Hellstrom WJG(ed): The Atlaas of Heman Sex Anatoming, Allen Press, Lawarence, 1999, 1-25)
Despite being a new and emerging branch of science, the word "andrology" comes from ancient Greek: andros — man, logos — science, and it was first used by Alciphoron and Lucianus. Most records relating to the culture of Ancient Greece and Egypt contain quite a number of ceremonies and rituals related to andrology. In those days, sexual relationships were considered as something divine.
Hippocrates also, relying on the culture of Ancient Greece, would say that the imbalance between the four fluids (blood, phlegm, mucus and bile) and the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) might lead to impotency. Besides, Hippocrates believed that testicles through blood vessels were connected with the genital organ and it was the pathology of these vessels which could become the cause of impotency. (Hippocrates. Airs, waters and places. In: Chadwichk AJ, Mann WN(eds): Hippocratic writings. Penguin, London, 1987, pp47-64.)
This concept was changed after the experiments of Leonardo da Vinci, during which the convicts had a reflex erection while they were being executed by hanging, as well as the experiments of Reiner de Graaf, during which corpses had an erection at the moment of injecting a liquid into the internal iliac artery. After that, alongside with other fields of science, there were rapid developments in the field of male and female anatomy. In the twentieth century Wilkonson left written records, which contain important ideas and approaches to the treatment of such diseases as gonorrhea, impotency and urethral stricture. And Echhard would say that penile erection is a neurovascular phenomenon.
Whilst comprehensive researches into the problem of sterility in andrology were stimulated by Lovenhook's invention of the microscope and the detailed description of spermatozoons given by Ham in 1686, the contemporary development of studies in this field was significantly influenced by the works of the German gynaecologist Harold Siebke.(Dunsmuir WD: History of erectile dysfunction. In Carson CC III, Kirby RS (eds): Textbook of Erectile Dysfunction, ISIS Medical Medie, Oxford, 1999, pp3-13)
As we mentioned above, until 1980 andrology was practised by several specialists, who named it differently. For example, Spermatology and Sexology. But these terms have very narrow meanings and do not reflect the essence of andrology. Spermatology is a branch of science which studies properties of sperm, and Sexology deals with psychological features of sexual disorders. (Johnson J: Literary and historical aspects of disorders of sexual potency. In: Johnson J (ed) disorders of sexual impotence in the male. Pergamon Pres, London, 1968, pp1-9.
Angletti LR: For a history of andrology. Med Secoli 2001; 13:251-254)
The use of the word "Andrology" and the recognition of andrology as an independent branch of science began in the 1950s. Walter Ludvik from Australia in his book titled "Andrologie", which was published in 1976, told about diseases of the male reproductive system. And the book by Alpay Kelami titled "Atlas of Operative Andrology", published in 1980, served as an introduction to genital surgery. Moreover, in those years Kelami and Pryor would jointly organise symposiums on andrology and told urologists about the latest achievements of medicine in the field of andrology. (Schirren C: Andrology. Origin and development of a special discipline in medicine. Reflection and view in the future. Andrologia 1985; 17: 117-125
Ludvik W: Andrologie. GT Verlag, Stuttgart, 1976
Kelami A” Atlas of Operative Andrology. De Guyter Verlag, Berlin, 1980)
In the course of its development andrology have been changing some terms not expressing their relevant meanings, for example, the use of the term "erectile dysfunction" instead of "impotency". Furthermore, world population growth, the growth of the elderly population, including their increasing number of health problems alongside with sexual disorders presuppose close collaboration between andrologists and geriatricians.
In conclusion, we can say that andrology, which studies reproductive system diseases and male sexual disorders, including factors influencing women's reproductive health, and changes in men arising from ageing, is still at the stage of development.
Andrologists-urologists, applying the latest scientific achievements, endeavour their best efforts to cure such diseases and improve health and quality of life for all people.
Zarifjon Murodovich Jumaboevich, urologist-andrologist.