What is Male Infertility?
Male infertility is a health condition in man that reduces his chances of getting his female partner pregnant despite frequent, unprotected sexual intercourse for over a year. Male infertility relies on the health and number of sperms. Fewer sperms in the semen and poor quality sperm cannot lead to pregnancy.
What causes Male Infertility?
Male infertility is caused when there are issues with sperm production or sperm transportation.
Production of unhealthy sperm
If both the testicles are not functioning properly or there is no adequate production of testosterone, the sperm is either not produced, less produced or unhealthy.
Movement of sperm
Once the sperm is produced, it is carried delicate tubes till it is ejaculated out of the penis. Infection, trauma or abnormal development of these tubes obstructs the movement of sperm.
After mixing with semen, the sperm must be able to move. If the motility and function of the sperm is abnormal, it cannot reach the partner’s egg.
Other medical conditions
Conditions like varicocele, epididymitis and orchitis interfere with sperm production and transport. Sometimes, antibodies attack the sperm mistaking them as harmful invaders. Tumors directly affect the reproductive organs and related glands. In some men, during fetal development, the testicles fail to descend into scrotum, which leads to infertility. Hormonal imbalance, chromosome defects, certain medications, prior surgeries, and exposure to radiation can also cause infertility in men.
Substance abuse, tobacco smoking, obesity, excess alcohol consumption, and stress are risk factors of male infertility.
What are the symptoms of Male Infertility?
Inability to conceive a child is the most obvious red flag. Some more symptoms are:
- Difficult with ejaculation
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Small volume of fluid ejaculated
- Swelling or lump in the testicile area
- Abnormal breast growth
- Inability to smell
- Decreased facial or body hair
How is Male Infertility Diagnosed?
Diagnosing male infertility involves:
The doctor may examine testiciles and genitals for lumps, injuries and abnormalities that could affect fertility.
The semen is checked for number of sperms, and their shape and movement . Potential abnormalities and infections are also identified through this test.
The images produced by this test help doctors identify varicocele and other conditions in the testicles and supporting structures.
Hormone testing, post-ejaculation urinalysis, genetic tests, testicular biopsy, transrectal ultrasound and sperm function tests also help zero in recognizing the actual problem.
What are the treatments of Male Infertility?
Once the exact cause of the problem is identified, the doctor recommends an appropriate treatment.
Surgery to correct abnormalities, medication to treat infections and hormone replacement are some of the treatment options
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