Low Sperm Count Treatment
By low sperm count states that the amount of fluid (semen) that you ejaculate at the time of organism comprises of lesser than normal sperms. It is also termed as oligospermia (ol-ih-go-SPUR-me-uh). If sperm is completely absent, it is known as azoospermia. If the level of sperm is lesser than 15 million sperm/milliliter, then the count is much lower than normal.
Chances of getting pregnancy by having one of the sperm, fertilizing your partner's egg get decreased, with low sperm count. However, there are many men have fathered a child even after having low sperm count.
Symptoms Low Sperm Count
Inability in conceiving a child is considered to be an important sign to have low sperm count. Also no other symptoms or signs could be present. In few cases, symptoms and signs might be caused due to underlying issues like dilated testicular veins, conditions which blocks sperm passage or inherited hormonal imbalances. Symptoms of low sperm count might include the following:
- Issues related to sexual function, for instance, difficulty in maintaining erection (erectile dysfunction) or low sex drive
- Testicle area having lump, swelling or pain
- Other sings of hormone or chromosome abnormality being decreased body or facial hair
When is a physician to be visited?
A physician is to be seen if:
- Not able to conceive child even after having with partner, unprotected regular sexual intercourse
- Having low sex drive, ejaculation or erection issues or other sexual function problems
- Testicular area having swelling, lump, pain or discomfort
- Having history of sexual, prostate or testicle problems
- Previously had surgery in testicle, scrotum, penis or groin area
Causes OF Low Sperm Count
Sperm production is regarded to be a highly complex procedure, requiring testicle (testes) to function normally which includes hypothalamus as well as pituitary glands - an organ present in the brain whose function is to produce and trigger hormones for sperm production. As testicles produce sperms, they are transported by delicate tubes until it gets mixed with semen, to be ejaculated from penis. Sperm production can be affected due to issues taking place in any of the systems. Also issues can be seen with function, movement (mobility) or morphology (abnormal sperm shape). Low sperm count cause is often not identified.
There are several medical treatment and health issues, which might cause low sperm count. Some of them include:
- Varicocele: Pronounced VAR-ih-koe-seel is regarded to be a swelling that takes place in the veins which drains the testicle and is a general cause when it comes to male infertility. Normal cooling of testicle might be prevented, thereby leading towards diminished moving sperm and sperm count. Varicocele treatment often enhances overall fertility and quality of sperm.
- Infection: Sperm health and sperm production could be interfered due to some infections. It could also cause scarring, in which sperm passage gets blocked. Infections that are sexually transmitted are included like gonorrhea and Chlamydia; prostate inflammation (prostatis), reproductive organs or urinary tract infections and inflamed testicles.
- Ejaculation issues: As semen enters bladder during orgasm, retrograde ejaculation takes place rather than emerging out of penis tip. Retrograde ejaculation may be caused due to different health conditions, including spinal injuries, diabetes, surgery of bladder, urethra and prostate. Retrograde ejaculation also might be caused due to some medications like alpha blockers commonly known as blood pressure medications. Certain diseases or spinal cord injuries in men might lead them not to ejaculate semen completely, even though sperms are produced.
- Antibodies attacking sperm: These are immune system cells which identify the sperm mistakenly as harmful invaders, trying to destroy them.
- Tumors: Male reproductive organs can be directly affected by non-malignant tumors and cancers. It can also affect glands which help to release hormones that are production related like pituitary gland. Chemotherapy or radiation, surgery for treating tumors might also affect fertility in men.
- Undescended testicles: Both or one of the testicles at times fail in descending into sac containing testicles (scrotum), from abdomen during fetal development. Men are likely to face decreased fertility more.
- Hormone imbalances: Hormones are produced by testicles, pituitary and hypothalamus which are necessary for creating sperm. Sperm production could be impaired due to alterations in such hormones along with other systems like adrenal and thyroid.
- Sperm duct defects: Tubes which carry sperm might be damaged due to injury or illness. Few men could have blockage in the testicle part right from birth, which stores sperm (epididymis) or having blockage of any of the tube which carries sperm from testicles (vas deferens). Cystic fibrosis in men along with other inherited conditions could be born without the sperm duct.
- Chromosome defects: Kilinefelter’s syndrome is one such inherited disorder, where male is born having one Y chromosome and two X chromosome rather than one Y and one X, thereby causing male reproductive organs to develop abnormally. Kartagener syndrome, Kallman’s syndrome and cystic fibrosis are considered to be other genetic syndromes that are associated with infertility.
- Celiac disease: It is a digestive disorder that is caused due to sensitivity towards gluten. Male infertility is caused due to it. Fertility could be improved by adopting diet that is gluten free.
- Certain medications: Usage of long term anabolic steroid, testosterone replacement therapy, certain antibiotic and antifungal medications, cancer medications (chemotherapy), some medications and some ulcer medications could decrease male fertility and impair sperm production.
Environmental causes OF Low Sperm Count
Being overexposed to specific effects of the environment could affect function and production of sperm. These causes include the following:
- Industrial chemicals: Being over exposed to toluene, benzenes, herbicides, xylene, organic solvents, pesticides, lead and painting materials could contribute towards low sperm counts.
- X-ray or Radiation: Sperm production could be due to exposure towards radiation. Production of sperm to be normal can take several years. With radiation being of high dose, there could be permanent reduction in production of sperm.
- Heavy metal exposure: Being exposed to heavy metals and lead might cause infertility
- Overheating testicles: Hot tubs or saunas, if used frequently might lower the sperm count temporarily. Even sitting for longer periods, using laptop on the lap for longer duration and wearing tight clothes can increase scrotum temperature, thereby reducing sperm production. Underwear type that is selected to be worn is sure to impact the sperm count.
- Prolonged bicycling: It is stated to be another reason for fertility being reduced because of testicles being overheated.
Lifestyle, health and other causes
Low sperm count is also caused due to the following:
- Illegal drug use: Testicles can shrink due to intake of anabolic steroids which are often taken for stimulating growth and muscle strength, thereby leading to decrease in sperm production. Using marijuana or cocaine might reduce quality and number of sperm temporarily.
- Alcohol use: Testerone levels can be lowered with consumption of alcohol and cause sperm production decrease.
- Occupation: Specific occupations might enhance fertility risk, which includes people associated with video display monitors and computers for extended time, work related stress and shift work.
- Tobacco smoking: Low sperm count is noticed in men who are known to smoke when compared to those who are averse to smoke.
- Emotional stress: Prolonged or severe emotional stress which includes stress regarding fertility might interfere with specific hormones required for sperm production.
- Weight: Hormone changes often take place with obesity which reduces male fertility.
- Sperm testing issues: Sperm counts that are lower than normal could be a result of a sperm sample which was taken immediately after the last ejaculation and is tested, or taken soon after a stressful event or illness, or did not comprise of all semen that is ejaculated since some got spilled at the time of collection. It is for this reason, results are based generally on numerous samples collected over time.