Symptoms of Infertility in Men
Infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after one year of trying without protection. Male Infertility is when a man suffers from a physical issue that reduces his chances of conceiving with a female partner. There are, however, some cases where an underlying problem, such as inherited disorders, dilated veins around the testicle, hormonal imbalances, or a condition that prevents sperm transport from the testis, may contribute to subfertility.
Male Infertility symptoms may not be evident, but there are a few warning signs to keep an eye out for, such as:
• Issues with sexual function, such as problems ejaculating or premature ejaculation, decreased sexual desire, or erectile dysfunction
• Having discomfort, edema, or a bump near the testicles
• Recurring respiratory diseases
• Abnormal breast development or gynecomastia
• Loss of facial or bodily hair, or other chromosomal or hormonal anomalies
• A decreased sperm count that is below average—fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen—or a total sperm count of less than 39 million per ejaculate
Causes of Male Infertility
A wide range of biological and environmental factors can affect male fertility. Possible factors include:
• Supplements and medications
• Varicoceles, a condition where the veins on the testicles are larger than normal, resulting in overheating, which can affect the shape or number of the sperm.
• Cancer treatments involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery to remove one or both testicles
• Substance abuse like consumption of alcohol, drugs, or smoking
• Lifestyle factors like obesity, stress, etc.
• Hormonal disorders
• Trauma to the testes
• Environmental factors such as toxins, heavy metals, radiation, pollutants, and chemicals
• Genetic disorders like Klinefelter's syndrome, microdeletion, and more
Infertility in Men- what are the various terminologies and what do they mean?
• Azoospermia – this refers to complete absence of sperms in semen. It can be due to a block in the tubules that conduct sperms from the testis or failure of production of sperms
• Oligospermia- low sperm count. The normal sperm count is 16 million per ml of seminal fluid
• Asthenospermia- low motility of sperm. Ideally only the fast motile sperms will contribute to natural conception
• Teratospermis- the presence of a high number of abnormally formed sperms. Atleast 4% Normal sperm are needed for a sample to be called fertile semen.
Infertility in Men: Who is At Risk?
Male Infertility is more likely if you suffer from
• Past infections of the prostate or genitals
• Injury to the testicles
• Undescended testicles
• Early or late puberty
• Hernia repair
• Heat exposure to the genitals
• Are overweight
• Exposed to any kind of radiation.
• Subjected to any kind of intoxication like alcohol, drugs, etc.
• Exposed to environmental toxins like lead, pesticides, calcium, or mercury
Identification of Male Infertility
When investigating Infertility, both the man and his partner need to undergo tests. Male Infertility can be detected through:
• Medical history and physical examination
• Semen samples are examined in the laboratory for abnormalities and antibodies
• Blood test to evaluate hormone levels
• Testicular biopsy
• Ultrasound scans - to look at the reproductive system
Treatment of Male Infertility
While antioxidants help improve some types of defects, there are no treatments that can improve sperm quality to an absolute normal. Various techniques can increase the chances of conception when using existing sperm. Assistive reproductive technologies (ART) are typically helpful in most cases. Several other reproductive technologies available include
• Artificial insemination- this procedure is carried out in the case of low sperm concentration, low motility, the presence of anti-sperm antibodies in the seminal fluid, and interference with sperm transport caused by women's cervical mucus.
• Hormone therapy- lack of hormones can cause Infertility in some cases, and medication can boost sperm production.
• Surgery- for example, varicocele, is a condition involving abnormal swelling of the veins inside the testes, causing Infertility, and can be corrected surgically.
• In-vitro fertilization (IVF)- is the choice of treatment when couples are facing male Infertility
• Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)- In cases where sperm concentration is too low or structurally abnormal for IVF to be successful, ICSI can be used
It is imperative to note that Infertility is caused by many factors, regardless of a person's gender, and that there is no link between masculinity and Infertility. Do not feel alone if you have been diagnosed with Infertility or have questions about the same. As medical technology is constantly evolving, there are chances for you to experience the joy of parenthood through Assistive reproductive technologies (ART), so don't be afraid to consult a specialist if you have any concerns.
1. Is it possible to treat male Infertility?
Male Infertility can sometimes be reversed with medication or surgery but assisted reproductive technology (ART; for example, in vitro fertilization or "IVF") is more commonly recommended.
2. Is it possible for a man with a low sperm count to have a child?
Low sperm counts may reduce the likelihood that a sperm will fertilize, but many men who struggle with Infertility can still become parents. With the rapid advancement of science, both men and women can now conceive successfully.
3. Is male Infertility affected by age?
Age has a major impact on male sexual function, sperm parameters, and fertility in men, which results in decreased fertility, longer conception times, and more miscarriages.
4. Can Infertility in men be avoided? How can I lower the chance of being Infertile?
If Infertility is caused by lifestyle factors such as consumption of alcohol, smoking, or obesity, working around certain chemicals, you might be able to reduce the risk.
5. What are the oligospermia symptoms?
Symptoms may include decreased sex drive or erectile dysfunction, lump, swelling, or both at the testicle area and reduced facial or body hair, as well as other chromosomal or hormone abnormalities. Many times, there is no overt sign or symptom other than failure to achive a pregnancy.
6. What is the best food to increase sperm count?
The consumption of vitamin C and D-rich foods, dark leafy vegetables, walnuts, fatty fish, and garlic will help improve sperm counts.