Male infertility is not obvious to the naked eye aserection and ejaculation seem to be normal during intercourse. The issue of infertility arises when the couple are unable to conceive and this can be quite frustrating. The good news is male infertility can be treated and cured.
When to see a doctor ….
It is the right time to seek for doctor’s appointment, if the couple are unable to conceive despite unprotected and regular intercourse for more than a year. The individual can talk to the doctor if he has noticed erection or ejaculation problems, lump, swelling or pain in the testicle area, prostrate problem or medical reasons that have led to surgery of groin, testicle, penis or scrotum.
Four Main Reasons for Infertility in Males
Extensive medical studies have concluded that there are four main reasons for infertility in males:
- Hypothalamic or pituitary disorder: 1-2%
- Sperm transportation disorder:10-20%
- Gonad disorder: 30-40%
- Unknown causes: 40-50%
Signs and Symptoms
Inability to conceive a child is the main symptom of infertility. There can be underlying causes such as hormone imbalance, genetic disorder, discomfort or pain in the scrotum and blockages in the release of sperm.A series of medical diagnostic tests are conducted to authenticate infertility in males.
Some common signs and symptoms of male infertility are:
- Reduced sex drive
- Difficulty in ejaculation, or less volume of fluid ejaculated
- Swelling, lump or pain in and around the testicle
- Respiratory infections or inability to smell
- Gynecomastia or abnormal growth of breasts
- Undescended testicles
- Genetic fertility disorder
- Blockages preventing release of sperm
- Lower sperm count: less than 15 million sperm per mm of sperm
- Total sperm count less than 39 million
- Any other hormonal or chromosomal abnormalities
According to medical studies, close to 50% of fertility issues arise from male infertility. Some of the common risks involving male infertility include:
- Prolonged consumption of antibiotics, alcohol, tobacco or narcotics
- Exposure to toxins and radiation
- Illness or injury
- Chronic disease
- Stress and depression
- Abnormal weight gain
- Infertility in males arise from numerous health and medical conditions such as Varicocele (swelling of veins in the testicle), Epididymitis (inflammation of epididymis), Orchitis, Gonorrhea or HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Tubule blockages
- Varicocele may result in reduced quality of sperm
- Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, anatomical abnormalities, hypospadias, psychological disorders
- Retrograde ejaculation, where semen enters bladder rather than coming out of penis
- Infections that damage sperm health or sperm production
- Inflammation of testicles
- Anti-sperm antibodies that attack sperm
- Non-malignant tumors that effect male reproductive system
- Undescended testicles –fail to descend from the abdomen into the sac that contains scrotum
- Celiac disease – digestive disorder due to gluten sensitivity
- Chromosomal disorders such as Klinefelter’s syndrome – male is born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome (instead of one X and one Y)
- Chemotherapy and other cancer medications
- Antifungal medications
- Surgeries such as vasectomy, testicular surgeries, hernia repairs, prostate surgeries and abdominal surgeries for testicular and rectal cancers
Air, water and soil pollution is one of the major causes of infertility in males. Continuous exposure to disastrous environmental elements such as extreme heat and toxic chemicals are reducing sperm production and sperm function.
Some of the specific causes leading to low sperm production are:
- Exposure of heavy metals such as Lead
- Prolonged contact with toxic industrial chemicals such as benzene, toluene, xylene, organic solvents, pesticides and herbicides, paining materials, etc
- Contact to high doses of radiation or x-rays
- Overheating of testicles due to tight innerwear, sitting for long duration, placing the laptop on the lap and working on it for long period.
- Frequent use of saunas and bath tubs with hot water are assumed to impair sperm functionality
Modern living is largely deskbound with little or minimal physical exercise. Unhealthy eating habits and consumption of intoxicating substances are further aggravating medical condition termed infertility in males.
These lifestyle causes are shrinking the testicles and reducing the production of sperm:
- Use of anabolic steroids to improve muscle strength
- Ingesting of Cocaine and Marijuana
- Consumption of Alcohol that is leading to Liver disease
- Cigarette smoking and tobacco consumption
- Psychological Stress and Disorders, Depression
- Abnormal weight gain
Common Preventive Methods
There is no cure for male infertility arising out of genetic and physical disorders. A healthy male can prevent infertility by following these prevention methods:
- Limit or zero consumption of alcohol and tobacco
- Abstain from drugs
- Maintain healthy body weight
- Never undergo vasectomy
- Protect testicles from prolonged heat
- Minimize stress
- Steer away from radiation, toxins, pesticides and heavy metals
- Follow good physical and personal hygiene
Common Treatment Methods
Infertility in males is treated using conventional methods such as intake of medical supplements to increase sperm production, antibiotics to cure infection, intake of hormones to manage hormonal imbalance, and avoid tight underwear and hot saunas and showers.