What Is Eunuchs And Eunuchoidism: Physical Characteristics, Causes, Treatment

Eunuchs are men castrated before puberty .

In the past, the removal of the testicles was a relatively common practice for some categories of people.

Castration is a widespread practice in the veterinary field; the eunocoid phenotype translates in fact into more tender meat (less muscular tissue and more fat, as in the capon ), with a less decisive taste and smell, and in a more docile temperament of the animal (as in the ox, decidedly more masueto than to the bull).

As far as pets are concerned, however, castration is carried out above all as a means of containing births and straying phenomena.

In the eastern courts, for example, the eunuchs were entrusted with the custody of the harems; in this case, the males were subjected to the removal of both the testicles and the penis , in order to render them completely incapable of performing sexual activity. In the West, on the other hand, pre-pubertal castration was considered an expedient to maintain the high tone of the voice, a particularly useful characteristic for sopranos and those participating in ecclesiastical choirs; in the eighteenth century, for example, the soprano castrato Farinelli (born Carlo Maria Michelangelo Nicola Broschi) became famous.

Physical Characteristics

Castration before developmental age ensures the maintenance of an infantile appearance and voice, flowing hair, scarce and poorly toned muscle mass , mostly “hairless” skin , a underdeveloped, of a submissive behavior, anything but audacious.

In practice, with pre-pubertal castration the development of secondary male sexual characteristics is lost; this is because these characteristics depend on the increase in the levels of circulating androgen hormones ( testosterone and derivatives), which occurs starting from puberty due to the increased testicular synthesis.


In medical parlance, the term eunuchoidism indicates the insufficient production of androgens by the testicles. In that sense, eunocoidism can be considered a synonym for male hypogonadism .

A eunocoid subject is therefore a male who has a poor synthesis of androgens at the testicular level.

Consequences Of Eunocoidism

Some authors use the term eunocoidism to indicate the classic phenotype (outward appearance) of hypogonadal men since the prepubertal age . In fact, these subjects have a phenotype similar to that of eunuchs, which can be summarized in:

  • sexual infantilism: testicles less than 4 millimeters in size, micropenis , voice that does not acquire the masculine timbre, lack of development of the scrotum and glands, underdeveloped hair;
  • macroschelia: the lower (and upper) limbs are much more developed than the trunk ;
  • submissive behavior: low sexual desire, low competitive spirit, apathy .

If, on the other hand, hypogonadism occurs in adulthood , the secondary sexual characteristics are normally developed; however, a feminine distribution of body fat is common ; the subject, in fact, tends to present greater concentrations of fat in the breasts ( gynecomastia ), hips and buttocks . In addition, there is a decrease in libido and muscle strength .


Causes of eunochoid hypogonadism include: inadequately treated cryptorchidism , genetic disorders such as Kinefelter syndrome or Noonan syndrome , congenital malformations of the testicles (testicular dysgenesis), traumatic or surgical castration, testicular irradiation, pituitary tumors and /or of the hypothalamus .


In cases of eunuchoidism due to castration or irreversible causes (e.g. genetic diseases), the treatment consists of androgen-based replacement therapy: in practice, the subject is periodically injected with doses of artificial testosterone or its synthetic derivatives (anabolic steroids). .

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