Although reproduction is the most natural thing in this world, most couples are finding it difficult to conceive. Today, along with women men are also facing the issue of infertility. Infertility has become a widespread concern and almost 1 in every 5 couples have the problem of infertility. Not being able to conceive a baby can be frustrating and depressing. However a lot of treatments are available to cure male fertility. Before that one must identify the causes and symptoms of male infertility.
What is Male Infertility?
The male’s fertility is directly linked to the quality and quantity of sperm count. If the sperm is of poor quality or the quantity of sperm ejaculated is low, it causes infertility and the inability to make the woman pregnant.
Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for Male Infertility
Symptoms of Male Infertility
The most obvious symptom of male infertility is the ability to conceive a baby. However, other underlying reasons such as heredity, hormonal fluctuations and dilated veins can cause other signs and symptoms.
- Lump, swelling or pain around the testicles
- Low sperm count
- Constant respiratory infections
- Reduction to smelling ability
- Decreases hair growth
- Abnormal breast growth
- Problems with ejaculation
Causes of Male Fertility
There are can be several reasons and causes of male infertility. Some of them are medical causes, environmental, and lifestyle.
- Infections: Most of us ignore this route cause of infertility. Many infections such as sexually transmitted infection HIV and gonorrhoea can affect sperm production. These infections cause inflammation of the testicles leading to permanent testicle damage.
- Ejaculation issues: Another common cause of male infertility is issues with ejaculation. Semen entering the bladder instead of coming out of the penis is called retrograde ejaculation. Hence, the semen does not enter the female reproductive tract. Medications, diabetes, and spinal injuries can cause retrograde ejaculation.
- Varicocele: It is a condition of swelling of the veins that drains the testicles. Varicocele affects the quality of the sperm.
- Undescended testicles: It is a congenital defect where the testicles fail to descend from the abdomen into the sac. This is yet another common reason for infertility.
- Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal disorders involving the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid gland can cause low testosterone levels and impact fertility.
- Weight: Obesity is always linked to infertility. Weight can greatly impact sperm count and fertility in many ways.
- Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety are the biggest enemies for male fertility. They interfere with male hormones that are required to produce quality sperms.
- Excess alcohol consumption: Excess alcohol reduces testosterone levels and affects sperm count. It also causes erectile dysfunction.
- Smoking: Both first hand and second hand passive smoking affects sperm quality and production.
- Elevated temperature: Exposure to high temperature can affect sperm quality and production. Wearing tight clothes, working very close to computer and sitting for prolonged periods can increase body temperature.
- Exposure to radiation: High exposure to radiation significantly reduces sperm count and quality.
- Industrial chemicals: Exposure to chemicals like xylene, herbicides, toluenes, paints, and pesticides also have a huge impact on sperm count and male fertility.
Treatment for Male Infertility
Once the both the man and woman are checked, and male infertility is confirmed the treatment process begins. Some of the treatment options include
- Hormonal treatments: If infertility is linked to hormonal imbalances, your doctor will prescribe hormonal medications or suggest hormone replacement therapies to improve fertility.
- Surgery: In case of varicocele, it can be surgically corrected.
- Assisted reproductive technology: Almost every couple suffering from infertility is opting for this treatment. Here the sperm is extracted surgically or from normal ejaculation and then inserted into the female reproductive tract, or in vitro fertilisation is done and the embryo is planted into the uterus of the woman.
- Treatment for sexual intercourse problems: Those males suffering from erectile dysfunction can seek medication or counselling to improve fertility.
In many cases, treatment for male infertility is not possible and the man simply cannot become a father. In such cases, the doctor may suggest you to opt for a sperm donor or consider adopting a child. Although evidence is limited, many resort to alternative medicines and natural remedies to improve fertility. If you have the faith, you can consider these options.
Prevention of Male Infertility
Although some forms of male infertility are not preventable, some causes can be avoided by taking the following measures
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Avoid smoking and tobacco
- Keep your weight under control and maintain a healthy weight
- Do not get a vasectomy done
- Reduce anxiety, stress, and depression
- Avoid exposure to any form of prolonged heat to the testicles
- Limit exposure to toxins, chemicals, heavy metals, radiations and pesticides
Prevention and resorting to treatments is the only option couples can resort to in case of infertility. Nevertheless sometimes no treatment works. In this case, acceptance is the only option else couples can consider adopting a child.