Infertility in Men
About 15 percent of couples are not able to conceive due to several reasons. In nearly half of these cases, male infertility is said to be the prime cause. An infertile male cannot make their sexual partner pregnant. It may be due to hormonal imbalance, low sperm production, injury, illness, lifestyle choices, or chronic health problems.
Symptoms of Infertility in Men
The inability to conceive after a prolonged period of unprotected sex is one of the prime symptoms of male infertility.
Some other symptoms may include:
- Recurrent respiratory infections
- Low sperm count
- Problems with ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sex drive
- Pain or swelling in testicles
- Decreased facial/body hair
- Lump in the testicle area
- Have a history of prostate/sexual problems
- Have had surgery of the penis, testicles, groin, or scrotum
Male Infertility Causes
From behavioral problems to hormonal imbalance, there are several causes of infertility.
- Chronic alcohol abuse and smoking reduce sperm count greatly
- Drug abuse
- Anabolic steroid use causes shrinking of testicles, which further makes a man infertile
- Lack of vitamin C and Zinc
- Infection that causes scarring, resulting in blockage of sperm passage
- Environmental pollution that causes exposure to lead, radiation, toxins, and radioactive substances
- Damaged sperm ducts
- Genetics problem
- Prolonged emotional stress
- Overly intense exercise causes testosterone deficiency due to production of high levels of adrenal steroid hormones
- Tumors in pituitary gland
- Long-term use of anabolic steroid
- Horseback riding
- Swelling of veins that drain testicles
- Tight underwear raises scrotal temperature, resulting in reduced sperm production
- Retrograde ejaculation due to diabetes, high blood pressure, spinal injury, medications or bladder, spinal, urethral surgery
The hypothalamus-pituitary endocrine system is responsible for maintaining hormonal balance in the body, allowing testes to produce and disseminate sperm. Any problem with the hypothalamus-pituitary endocrine system could cause hormonal and testosterone imbalance, resulting in cessation of sperm production and causing infertility in men.
Male Infertility Diagnosis
Male infertility tests may include:
- Blood tests for evaluating hormone levels
- Semen analysis to check the sperm quantity/quality
- Genetic testing to find signs of chromosomal defects, sperm DNA fragmentation, genetic diseases
- Imaging tests to diagnose structural problems
Male Infertility Treatment
Treatment for the condition begins with addressing the underlying cause of the problem leading to fertility problems. The treatment may begin with a drug therapy for treatment of hormonal disorders. In some patients, surgery may be performed for repairing varicoceles and obstructions in the reproductive tract.
Today, a combination of in vitro fertilization or IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection is used as a method to achieve pregnancy in the case of male infertility, which involves removing ovum from the woman’s ovaries and injecting sperm into the egg and keeping it for culture in the laboratory for a few days. after this, the zygote or fertilized egg is re-implanted into the woman with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy.