Low sperm count is one of the causes of male infertility. There are many causes of low sperm count, including anatomical abnormalities, sex hormone disorders, genetic defects, and psychological or physiological sexual dysfunction. Let’s explore the causes of low sperm count in this article!
The rate of infertility today is increasing, and one of the causes of that condition is low sperm count. The impact of environmental factors, chemicals, and diseases makes low sperm count increasingly common.
What is low sperm count?
Low sperm count means less sperm is present in the ejaculate during orgasm.
The complete absence of sperm is called seminal vesicles. What is low sperm count? Low sperm count is when the number of sperm per ml of semen is less than 15 million.
What are the signs and symptoms of low sperm count?
Common symptoms of low sperm count are:
- Reduced sexual function, eg premature ejaculation or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction);
- pain, swelling, or a lump in the testicle;
- Decreased amount of facial or body hair as well as chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities.
You may experience other symptoms not mentioned. If you have any questions about symptoms, consult your doctor.
When do you need to see a doctor?
You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following signs:
- Problems with erection or ejaculation decreased libido or other problems with sexual function
- Pain, discomfort, lump, or swelling in the testicle
- History of testicular, prostate, or sexual problems
- Surgery, groin area, testicles, penis, or scrotum.
Causes of low sperm count
Sperm production is a complex process and requires the testes as well as the hypothalamus and pituitary gland (the organ in the brain that produces hormones that trigger sperm production) to function properly.
When sperm are produced in the testicles, the vas deferens transport them into the ejaculatory duct and wait until they are released from the penis. Any system malfunction can affect sperm production. In addition, the sperm will also have an abnormal shape, movement (motility), or function.
What is low sperm count? A number of health problems and medical treatments can also cause low sperm count, including:
Varicose veins of the testicles: This condition is swelling of the veins that carry blood in the testicles and is the most common cause of male infertility, resulting in reduced sperm quality;
Infection: Some infections can interfere with sperm production, and sperm health or cause narrowing of the vas deferens that interferes with sperm movement;
Ejaculation problem: Retrograde ejaculation occurs when sperm goes back into the bladder during orgasm instead of exiting at the tip of the penis. Health conditions can cause retrograde ejaculation, including diabetes, damage to the spine, and surgery of the bladder, prostate, or urethra.
Medicine: Antihypertensives (alpha-blockers), testosterone replacement therapy, long-term use of synthetic steroids, anticancer drugs (chemotherapy), some antifungal drugs and antibiotics, some ulcer medications, and other medicines that can decrease sperm production and decrease male fertility;
Antibodies attack sperm: Anti-sperm antibodies are immune system cells that mistakenly identify sperm as harmful and attempt to destroy them;
Tumors are also the cause of low semen volume: Cancers and malignancies can directly affect the male reproductive organs. Surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy to treat tumors can also affect male fertility;
Ectopic testicles: During fetal development, one or both testicles sometimes do not descend into the scrotum but instead lie in the abdomen. Men with this condition are at high risk for reduced fertility;
Hormonal imbalance: The hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and testicles produce hormones needed to make sperm. Changes in these hormones, as well as from other systems such as the thyroid and adrenal glands, can reduce sperm production.
There is a problem with the tube that carries sperm: The tubes that carry sperm are blocked due to various causes, including accidental trauma from surgery, prior infection, trauma, or developmental abnormalities, such as cystic fibrosis or similar genetic conditions, that interfere with the sperm transport process.
Chromosomal defects: Genetic disorders such as Klinefelter cystic fibrosis, Kallmann syndrome, and Kartagener syndrome can lead to infertility;
Celiac disease: This is a digestive disorder caused by gluten sensitivity and can lead to male infertility. A gluten-free diet can improve fertility;
Surgery history: Certain surgeries can lower sperm count, including vasectomy, repair of an inguinal, scrotal, or testicular hernia, prostate surgery, and major abdominal surgery to treat testicular cancer, and anus.
Why low sperm count? Sperm count and function can be affected by overexposure to certain environmental factors, including:
Industrial chemicals: High exposure to benzene, toluene, xylene, herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents, paint materials, and lead can reduce sperm count;
Exposure to heavy metals: Exposure to lead or other heavy metals can also cause infertility;
Radiation or X-ray: Radiation exposure can decrease sperm production. Sperm production can take several years to return to normal. High-dose radiation exposure can damage sperm production;
Testicles are too hot: High temperatures reduce sperm production and function. Frequent use of saunas or hot baths can reduce sperm count.
Sitting for long periods of time, wearing tight clothing, or working with a laptop for long periods of time.
Other causes of low sperm count may also include:
Use of narcotics: Synthetic steroids used to stimulate muscle strength and growth can cause testicles to shrink and decrease sperm production. Using cocaine or marijuana can also reduce sperm count and quality;
Use alcohol: Drinking alcohol can lower testosterone levels and reduce sperm production;
Job: Certain occupations have an increased risk of infertility, including welding or jobs that require a lot of sitting, such as driving.
Smoke: Men who smoke have lower sperm counts than non-smokers;
Psychological stress: Prolonged stress, including fertility anxiety, can interfere with essential hormones, causing reduced sperm production;
Weight: Obesity can reduce fertility in several ways, directly affecting sperm and causing hormonal changes that reduce male fertility.
What factors increase the risk of low sperm count?
There are many factors that increase the risk of low sperm count, such as:
- Drink alcohol
- Use narcotic
- Ever had or have an infection?
- Exposure to toxins
- Testicles are too hot
- Have a testicular injury?
- Have a congenital or genetic disorder of fertility
- Have certain medical conditions, including tumors and chronic diseases
- Have had cancer treatment, such as radiation therapy
- Taking certain medications
- Ever had a vasectomy or pelvic surgery
- History of an undescended testicle.
What medical techniques are used to diagnose low sperm count?
Your doctor may check your health and also recommend further testing of your partner’s health to determine if low sperm count is the sole cause of your inability to conceive. In addition, your doctor can decide if you need fertility treatments.
Depending on the initial results, your doctor may recommend additional testing to look for low sperm count and other possible causes of male infertility, including:
Scrotal ultrasound: This test uses high-frequency sound waves to look at the testicles and surrounding supporting structures
Hormone testing: Your doctor will recommend blood tests to determine the level of hormones produced by the pituitary gland and testicles
Urinalysis after ejaculation: Sperm in the urine showing that sperm went back into the bladder instead of out of the penis during ejaculation (retrograde ejaculation)
Genetic testing: Low sperm concentration can be hereditary. A blood test can help determine if there is a change in the Y chromosome that is a sign of a genetic abnormality. Genetic testing may also be used to diagnose other congenital or inherited syndromes
Testicular biopsy: The doctor will take a biopsy sample from the testicle using a needle. The results of a testicular biopsy can show if sperm production is normal. If there’s a problem with sperm production, it could be due to a blockage or another problem with sperm transport. However, this test is usually only used in certain situations and is not commonly used to diagnose the cause of infertility
Anti-sperm antibody test: This method is used to check for immune cells (antibodies) that attack the sperm and affect its ability to function, this method is not common
Sperm function test: Several tests can be used to check how well the sperm survive after ejaculation, how well they get into the egg, and whether there is a problem during fertilization. This test method is rarely used and does not significantly change the course of treatment
Transrectal ultrasound: The doctor inserts a small wand-shaped device containing lubricant into the rectum to examine the prostate gland and check if the tubes that carry semen (ejaculatory ducts and seminal vesicles) are blocked.
Treatment for low sperm count
Can low sperm count be cured? Treatment methods include:
Surgery: Varicose veins of the testicles can often be surgically corrected or blocked in the vas deferens. In the case of no sperm when ejaculating, the doctor can proceed to collect sperm directly from the testicle or epididymis by sperm recovery techniques;
Treatment of infections: Antibiotics can cure some genital tract infections but do not always restore fertility completely;
Treatment of sexual problems: Medication or counseling that can help improve fertility for conditions like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation
Hormone therapies and medications: Your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy or medication in cases of infertility caused by high or low levels of certain hormones or problems with how the body uses hormones.
Assisted reproductive technology: This method involves obtaining sperm through normal ejaculation, surgery, or from individual sperm donors, depending on your specific circumstances and wishes. These spermatozoa are then inserted into the female reproductive tract or used for in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Low sperm count is a condition only seen in men. For them, this is still a sensitive issue. Many men still refuse to see a doctor until infertility occurs. There are many reasons for low sperm count. Some causes are treatable and some are not.
If the cause of low sperm count is due to anatomical abnormalities in the genital organs such as narrowing of the ejaculatory duct, and varicose veins of the testicles, doctors can intervene to restore normal physiological function or intervene to remove spermatozoa. spermatozoa in the epididymis for artificial insemination.
However, in cases where the sperm has lost function or is completely absent, you may need to apply for sperm from a sperm bank if you want to have children. Treatment of this sensitive pathology is complex and difficult, and the likelihood of success depends on the underlying cause. Therefore, if you have any physiological abnormalities as well as a long time to have children, talk to a fertility or infertility specialist for detailed advice.
Top News hopes this article provides you with helpful information and wishes your overall health in the best condition.
Maybe you are interested: