Male infertility is a frequent issue that reduces a male’s ability to help his female partner to conceive a child due to insufficient sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or obstructions that prevent sperm delivery.
If both partners engage in recurrent unprotected intercourse for more than a year and the female partner is unable to get pregnant with a child, then either one or two of the partners may be experiencing infertility problem.
Male infertility is a condition that can be stressful, but there are several therapies available. Male infertility may be caused by illnesses, accidents, chronic health issues, lifestyle choices, and other circumstances.
The inability to conceive a child is the primary sign of male infertility. Signs and symptoms can occasionally be caused by an underlying issues. The following signs and symptoms may include:
- Sexual disorder: difficulty in ejaculation, low sperm count, reduced sexual desire, or erectile dysfunction.
- Testicular pain, swelling, or lump
- Recurrent respiratory infection
- Lack of sense of smell
- Decreased in sperm count (less than 39 million per ejaculation)
- Abnormality in chromosomes or hormones
Different factors could cause problems that prevent sperm cells from developing, such as temperature that affects the infertility at the scrotum. Male infertility could be caused by biological or environmental factors that may include:
- Health issues: Several health issues and concerns affect the male infertility, such as:
- Azoospermia: Infertility could be caused by the body’s inability to produce sperm cells.
- Oligospermia: The production of sperm is low or the maturity is poor, which will affect the life span of the sperm cell to live to fertilize the egg cell.
- Varicocele: the veins at the scrotum are swollen. This condition results the scrotum to heat up which affects the maturity and count of the sperm.
- Retrograde ejaculation: When an orgasm occurs, semen enters the bladder rather than coming out the tip of the penis. This occurs when your bladder’s nerves and muscles fail to contract during an orgasm (climax).
- Sexual intercourse problem: Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, painful sex, physical anomalies like hypospadias, which is the presence of a urethral hole beneath the penis, and sex-interfering psychological or interpersonal issues are a few examples of these.
- Undescended testicles: One or both testicles in certain male fail to descend from the abdomen into the testicular sac during fetal development. Men who have experienced this illness are more prone to experience infertility.
- Infection: Some illnesses may affect sperm health or production, or they may lead to damage that prevents sperm from passing through. Some sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea or HIV, as well as inflammation of the testicles or epididymis are included.
- Immunologic infertility: Immune system cells called anti-sperm antibodies wrongly view sperm as dangerous invaders and make an effort to get rid of them. Most typically, injuries, operations, or infections result in the production of antibodies. They stop sperm from functioning normally and from transferring.
- Hormonal imbalances: The pituitary gland releases hormones that instruct the testicles to produce sperm. Poor sperm development is a result of very low hormone levels. Testicular problems or abnormalities affecting other hormonal systems, such as the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands, can cause infertility. Male hypogonadism, a condition which occurs due to low testosterone levels, and other hormonal factors may have a variety of underlying reasons.
- Cancer treatment: Surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy used to treat tumors can occasionally have an impact on male fertility. Male reproductive organs can be directly affected by cancers and benign tumors.
- Defects of tubules that transport sperm: Tubules that carry sperm have defects. Sperm travels through several tubes. They may become blocked as a result of unintentional harm from surgery, previous infections, trauma, or abnormal development, like in cystic fibrosis or other genetic diseases.
- Genetic disease: Male reproductive organs grow abnormally as a result of inherited diseases such Klinefelter’s syndrome, Kallmann’s syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
- Certain medications: Sperm production can be hampered and male fertility can be reduced by testosterone replacement therapy, long-term anabolic steroid usage, cancer drugs (chemotherapy), some therapies for ulcers, some drugs for arthritis, and other pharmaceuticals.
- Previous surgery: Vasectomy, scrotal or testicular surgery, prostate surgery, large abdominal surgery for testicular or rectal cancer, among other procedures, can all prevent sperm during ejaculation.
- Environmental causes: The production or function of sperm can be decreased by extended exposure to certain environmental factors as heat, pollutants, and chemicals. Certain factors include:
- Industrial chemicals: Low sperm counts may be caused by prolonged exposure to specific chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or organic solvents.
- Radiation exposure: Sperm production may be lowered by radiation exposure, but it frequently returns to normal afterward. Sperm production can be permanently decreased by high radiation exposures.
- Elevated temperature of testicles: High temperatures may harm sperm function and production. Regular use of saunas or hot tubs may temporarily lower your sperm count.
- Heavy metal exposure: Infertility may also result from lead or other heavy metal exposure.
- Health, lifestyle and other causes: Male infertility can also be brought on by:
- Alcohol use: Alcohol use can reduce testosterone levels, lead to erectile dysfunction, and decreased sperm counts.
- Smoking. Smoking may diminish sperm counts in men compared to non-smokers. Male fertility may also be effected by secondhand smoke.
- Drug use: The testicles can shrink and sperm production can fall when anabolic steroids used to promote muscle strength and growth are consumed. Use of cocaine or marijuana may also briefly lower the quantity and quality of the sperm.
- Weight: Obesity can affect sperm directly and indirectly by altering hormones, which decreases male fertility.
The following are risk factors for male infertility:
- Age: 40 years old or older
- Bad habits: Smoking tobacco, alcohol consumption, and drug abuse increases the risk of male infertility.
- Weight: Overweight or obese
- Health issues: History of infection, undescended testicles,
- Surgical history: Previous vasectomy, significant abdominal surgery, or pelvic surgery
- Others: Exposure to environmental toxins, exposure of testicles to heat, or history of trauma of the testicles. Having a family who suffers with infertility or being born with it.
Tumor or other chronic diseases such as sickle cell disease could increase the risk. Utilizing specific drugs or receiving medical care, such as cancer treatment procedures like radiation or surgery.