Almost every couple wishes to have a baby and start a family. One of the most common desires of married couples is to conceive naturally. Some couples cannot conceive a baby despite regular and unprotected intercourse. 1 out of every 7 men is either temporarily or permanently suffering from male infertility. To properly diagnose the cause, both partners are required to be tested and searched for the cause. Certain natural factors affect male fertility, like age, lifestyle, or environmental toxins.
Infertility may or may not be related to semen count. It may indicate some underlying disease that needs to be properly diagnosed. In addition, infertility can be caused due to structural or physical damage to the reproductive organs of the male. Any trauma can affect the amount or quality of semen production, which can lead to male infertility. Some instances show that problems co-exist between male and female partners and must be diagnosed and treated accordingly.
Causes of Male Infertility
There’s not just one reason for infertility; it depends on various factors. However, certain people are susceptible to some causes much more than others. Here are the most common cause of infertility in males:
- Vasectomy: a procedure of male sterilization that prevents unwanted pregnancy. The recovery from vasectomy is not very welcoming and may later cause sperm transfer disorder.
- Defects in testicles: Any structural defects in the testicle which remain undiagnosed for years can affect the production of sperm or may cause abnormal sperm count.
- Obstruction: Obstruction of the epididymis or the path of semen.
- Trauma: Trauma or a direct blow over the reproductive organ can damage and affect the normal functioning of the reproductive organ in males.
- Hormonal cause: low GnRH and imbalanced sex hormones in males can affect their fertility.
- Genetic: Certain syndromes occur since birth, like Klinefelter’s syndrome, Young’s syndrome, or gene deficiencies. These defects arise from birth and, in most cases, are diagnosed early with a diagnosis by a male reproductive doctor.
- Urogenital dysfunctions: Dysfunction in the urogenital system in males can affect their semen. Blood in urine or abrasions in the urinary tract can cause such conditions. If you see symptoms like these, you must get it checked by a male infertility doctor.
- Std: Sexually transmitted diseases are increasing worldwide and are not only affecting fertility; these infections are pretty complicated. Conditions like HIV or hepatitis can affect fertility in males. In addition, it can affect their partner as well.
Azoospermia: Azoospermia is when a male is unable to produce semen at all, leading to an inability to even after regular unprotected intercourse.
Oligospermia: Oligospermia is a condition where males produce very low sperm counts, and it is difficult for sperm to survive after entering the female genital tract.
Retrograde ejaculation: it’s a condition when semen flows back instead of coming out.
Varicoceles: it is a condition where veins chronically remain large and distended over the testicle. It causes changes in temperature, which is required for the average growth of sperm. Consequently, leading to abnormal count and morphology of sperm.
Methods of Diagnosis of Infertility in Men
Male infertility is usually diagnosed by a urologist who specializes in male infertility treatment. Specialized practitioners can analyze your case better to bring out the most productive treatment approach. Diagnosis is crucial and should be done by experienced and specialized medical practitioners. Let’s discuss some common infertility tests that your doctor might do to make a diagnosis and if you are not satisfied get a second opinion.
- Physical examination of males: a physical exam is the first step to check for any structural dysfunction or visible symptoms. Your doctor may ask certain questions to take a history of your condition.
The following can be questions that your doctor might ask:
- Duration of your condition.
- Any previous trauma to your genitals?
- Any genital surgery, e.g., vasectomy?
- Your occupation to know if you’re exposed to any toxins.
- Exposure to any radiation?
- Mental health conditions etc.
- Semen analysis: Semen analysis is essential to know about the condition of semen. It analyzes features like sperm volume, PH of semen, the concentration of sperm, sperm velocity, color, viscosity, etc.
- Ultrasound of the scrotum: It is used if your doctor suspects any abnormal structure or mass around the scrotum or varicoceles.
- Hormone test: A blood test to measure certain hormone levels in the blood. Pituitary and hypothalamus hormones are also tested because these affect the sexual behavior of males.
- Sperm DNA test: It is usually done to check for any abnormality in the quality of sperm.
- Sperm examination or sperm check fertility test: It includes the study and examination of samples of sperm to determine morphology. Morphology tells the doctor about the shape and size of sperm and whether it’s normal. Sperm motility examination tests the velocity and motion of sperm and if it can travel up to the female genital tract.
Treatment Approach for Infertility in Men
Often good diagnoses provide the cause of infertility in some cases. Not all cases are diagnosed with an exact cause, and sometimes the cause coexists between male and female partners. In some cases, the exact cause is difficult to search for, and their male infertility treatment options narrow to some range. However, treatment depends upon the conditions and various factors of the patient. In addition, not one treatment option is suitable for every patient so you can take a second opinion from ilios health. Here are some treatment options recommended for infertility in men:
Hormone therapy aims to balance the hormones in the body to bring hormones back to normal range. One of the common reasons for pituitary imbalance leads to hyperprolactinemia, where prolactin levels increase too much and contribute to infertility. In addition, treatment with medications and surgery can lower the prolactin surge. Another reason is improper stimulation of gonads by the pituitary hormone hp gonadotropin. Treating imbalance in GnRH with steroids and surgery.
Vasectomy blocks the semen from ejecting. Therefore, vasectomy reversal is a minor surgical procedure to untie the vas deferens, which were ligated. This surgery is done to maintain the normal route of semen.
Treatment of Retrograde Ejaculation:
It has multiple causes like diabetes, antihypertensive drugs, prostate surgery, etc. It can be treated with medication or a special procedure, i.e., Assisted Reproductive Technique called an ART. In this technique, sperms are obtained after normal ejaculation or from your bladder after ejaculation.
It’s a procedure where sperm is obtained through biopsy to opt for options like IVF( in-vitro fertilization).
Treatment of Infections:
Treatment of infections like HIV and hepatitis is essential if the diagnosis is confirmed. These infections can produce a long-term effect on sexual as well as overall health. Other infections like fungus and UTI should be adequately treated to prevent damage to the genitals.
Treatment of Varicocele:
Varicoceles can be treated with minor surgery, and the results are impressive. Males may turn to produce normal sperm after this surgery.
Risk Factors and Prevention
Various factors can affect male fertility. Certain precautionary measures and lifestyle changes improve your sexual performance, and the process of conceiving a child can be much smoother.
Factors affecting male fertility:
- Cigarette smoking
- Chronic alcoholism
- Drug abuse
- Exposure to environmental toxin
- Trauma to genitals
Healthy lifestyle changes and behavioral therapy can help change your choice and bring back your normal sexual behavior. Keeping mental health in check, opting for better lifestyle choices, and avoiding occupations that expose you to toxins can help you conceive a child and lead a healthy sexual life. Furthermore, it’s important for males to consult male reproductive doctors for Second Opinion Online in case of any symptoms.