Infertility in men
Fertility problems in men and women can lead to problems in conceiving a baby.
Male infertility is orientated to men and the problem lies predominantly in the sperm due to which the concerned couple is unable to have a baby despite having healthy sexual intercourse.
Symptoms of infertility in men
The first symptom of infertility is undoubtedly inability to conceive a baby. Other than that, you must get a fertility test done on experiencing low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, swelling or pain in testicles, etc. All these are symptoms of infertility.
What causes infertility in men?
Several factors contribute to decrease in sperm production, low sperm count and problems in sperm morphology and transportation to the ovaries.
The reasons are:
- Sexually transmitted infections, infection in prostate and testicles
- Varicocele- the veins of the testicle are too large which leads to rise in temperature of the testes
- Obstruction between the testicles and the penis.
- Retrograde ejaculation- the sperm ejaculates back in the bladder instead of outside
- Presence of anti sperm antibodies
- Hormonal imbalance- low testosterone (hypogonadism) and low pituitary hormones
- Defect in sperm duct, testicles and prostate which could be congenital or acquired from injury
- Side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, testosterone replacement therapy, overuse of steroids, etc.
- Excessive smoking, illicit drug use and alcoholism
- Mental stress, depression, over exercise, and obesity
- Long term exposure to heat, toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, radiation
- Decrease the genetic quality of sperm due to aging
How infertility in men diagnosed?
Just like any other diagnostic test, male infertility test also involves detecting the underlying cause. Your doctor will thoroughly check your medical history associated with inherited disorders, trauma or any other health conditions. Your doctor will evaluate your lifestyle and sexual habits and physically examine your genitals.
Depending upon the initial diagnosis, you need to undergo further tests which include:
- Semen analysis to detect sperm count, motility and morphology of sperms
- Ultrasound of prostate, scrotum, seminal vesicles, ejaculatory ducts, etc.
- Blood test for sexual hormone analysis and presence of autoimmune antibodies and genetic abnormalities
- Analysis of urine for detecting presence of sperm in it (retrograde ejaculation)
What are the treatment options for infertility in men?
Treatment options depend on the underlying test reports and are aimed at improving sperm motility and sperm count. Basically there are 3 strategies for correcting the problems:
- Medicines to treat infections, hormonal imbalances and sexual problems like premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, etc.
- Surgery may be performed to treat obstructions or other abnormality
- Hormone replacement therapy may also be advised
Apart from this, you will be prescribed vitamin (vitamin C and E), zinc , folates and other mineral supplements conducive for your sexual health.
What is the probability of having a baby with male infertility?
Infertility in men could be irreversible. Under such circumstances, couples must seek medical counselling to educate themselves about assisted reproductive technologies (ART) that would help them to conceive. ART is a fertility treatment that includes IVF with either the couples’ own sperm and egg or using a donor’s sperm.
Another type of ART is- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), in which the sperm is directly retrieved from the testicles and IVF is done by injecting a single sperm into a mature egg. The fertilized egg is then implanted inside the mother’s uterus.
Can infertility in men be prevented?
Infertility when acquired from lifestyle and environmental factors can be prevented. Take the following steps:
- Lead a healthy lifestyle- refrain from smoking and overuse of alcohol
- Have a nutritious balanced diet. Have protein rich foods
- Indulge in exercise. Shed those extra pounds
- Beat stress, anxiety and depression that can dampen your sex life
- Have healthy sex regularly
It’s important for couples to get fertility test done when facing trouble conceiving a baby. Because earlier you know the problem, the quicker you get it resolved.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: February 03, 2016