Home Health Male infertility: symptoms and how to manage it

Male infertility: symptoms and how to manage it

by Icnaija

Male infertility is due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices and other factors can play a role in causing male infertility. Not being able to conceive a child can be stressful and frustrating, but a number of male infertility treatments are available.

SYMPTOMS

1. PROBLEMS WITH SEXUAL FUNCTION. For example, difficulty with ejaculation or small volumes of fluid ejaculated, reduced sexual desire, or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)

2. Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area

3. Recurrent respiratory infections

4. Inability to smell
Abnormal breast growth (gynecomastia)

5. Decreased facial or body hair or other signs of a chromosomal or hormonal abnormality.

6. A lower than normal sperm count (fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen or a total sperm count of less than 39 million per ejaculate)

MEDICAL CAUSES

  • VARICOCELE.
    A varicocele is a swelling of the veins that drain the testicle. It’s the most common reversible cause of male infertility. Although the exact reason that varicoceles cause infertility is unknown, it may be related to abnormal testicular temperature regulation. Varicoceles result in reduced quality of the sperm.
  • INFECTION.
    Some infections can interfere with sperm production or sperm health or can cause scarring that blocks the passage of sperm. These include inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis) or testicles (orchitis) and some sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhea or HIV. Although some infections can result in permanent testicular damage, most often sperm can still be retrieved
  • EJACULATION  ISSUES.
    Retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen enters the bladder during orgasm instead of emerging out the tip of the penis. Various health conditions can cause retrograde ejaculation, including diabetes, spinal injuries, medications, and surgery of the bladder, prostate or urethra
  • ANTIBODIES THAT ATTACK SPERM. Anti -sperm antibodies are immune system cells that mistakenly identify sperm as harmful invaders and attempt to eliminate them.
  •  UNDESCENDED TESTICLES
  •  HORMONAL IMBALANCE
  • PROBLEMS WITH SEXUAL INTERCOURSE
  • CHROMOSOMES PROBLEM
  • TUMORS etc

ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES

Overexposure to certain environmental elements such as heat, toxins and chemicals can reduce sperm production or sperm function. Specific causes include:

1. INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS
Extended exposure to benzenes, toluene, xylene, pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents, painting materials and lead may contribute to low sperm counts.

2. HEAVY METAL EXPOSURE
Exposure to lead or other heavy metals also may cause infertility.

3. RADIATION OR X-RAYS

Exposure to radiation can reduce sperm production, though it will often eventually return to normal. With high doses of radiation, sperm production can be permanently reduced.

4. OVERHEATING THE TESTICLES
Elevated temperatures impair sperm production and function. Although studies are limited and are inconclusive, frequent use of saunas or hot tubs may temporarily impair your sperm count.
Sitting for long periods, wearing tight clothing or working on a laptop computer for long stretches of time also may increase the temperature in your scrotum and may slightly reduce sperm production.

HEALTH, LIFESTYLE AND OTHER CAUSES

Some other causes of male infertility include:

  • DRUG USE.
    Anabolic steroids taken to stimulate muscle strength and growth can cause the testicles to shrink and sperm production to decrease.
  • USE OF COCAINE or marijuana may temporarily reduce the number and quality of your sperm as well
  • ALCOHOL USE.
    Drinking alcohol can lower testosterone levels, cause erectile dysfunction and decrease sperm production. Liver disease caused by excessive drinking also may lead to fertility problems.
  • TOBACCO SMOKING.
    Men who smoke may have a lower sperm count than do those who don’t smoke. Secondhand smoke also may affect male fertility
  • EMOTIONAL STRESS.
    Stress can interfere with certain hormones needed to produce sperm. Severe or prolonged emotional stress, including problems with fertility, can affect your sperm count.
  • DEPRESSION.
    Research shows that the likelihood of pregnancy may be lower if a male partner has severe depression. In addition, depression in men may cause sexual dysfunction due to reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, or delayed or inhibited ejaculation.
  • WEIGHT.
    Obesity can impair fertility in several ways, including directly impacting sperm themselves as well as by causing hormone changes that reduce male fertility.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors linked to male infertility include:

  • Smoking tobacco
  • Using alcohol
  • Using certain illicit drugs
  • Being overweight
  • Being severely depressed or stressed
  • Having certain past or present infections
  • Being exposed to toxins
  • Overheating the testicles
  • Having experienced trauma to the testicles.
  • Having a prior vasectomy or major abdominal or pelvic surgery.
  • Having a history of undescended testicles
    Being born with a fertility disorder or having a blood relative with a fertility disorder
  • Having certain medical conditions, including tumors and chronic illnesses, such as sickle cell disease.
  • Taking certain medications or undergoing medical treatments, such as surgery or radiation used for treating cancer.

COMPLICATIONS

Infertility can be stressful for both you and your partner. Complications of male infertility can include:

  • Surgery or other procedures to treat an underlying cause of low sperm count or other reproductive problems.
  • Expensive and involved reproductive techniques.
  • Stress and relationship difficulties related to the inability to have a child.

PREVENTION

Many types of male infertility aren’t
preventable. However, you can avoid some known causes of male infertility.

For example:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit or abstain from alcohol.
  • Steer clear of illicit drugs.
  • Keep the weight off.
  • Avoid things that lead to prolonged heat for the testicles.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Avoid exposure to pesticides, heavy metals and other toxins.

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