As, like many underrated diseases going on, male fertility lies among them. People ignore that. Have you heard about male infertility? Or you know what the symptoms in which a male should rush towards a hospital and get treated before its too late are. Many people think that fertility issues are only with females, scroll down and see how much men are infertile.
Around 30% of the couples have infertility issues, and they are not known about it, in which 20% of infertility issues are with males. If we talk about male infertility, then there are two categories of infertility when,
- 1 in 20 males has low sperm production.
- 1 in 100 have no sperm production at all.
These two possibilities cause sterility in males.
Male infertility mainly refers to no ejaculation of sperm and not be able to cause pregnancy. Sometimes there are issues in both partners which make the pregnancy impossible. Male infertility is commonly due to Low semen quality and low semen production.
Male infertility usually depends on the production of sperm in the male body and proper ejaculation into the female body—the travel of the mature sperm and after mating, fertilization.
Difference between impotence and sterility:
Many people have false knowledge about these two terms. They think that they are the same, but they are not. Impotence means erectile dysfunction and sterility or infertility means Unable to produce sperm or unable to conceive a baby.
Infertility can be in females as well as males, but impotence is only in males. Due to weakness, there can also be sterility. And due to infertility, there can be impotence. They have one thing in common that they badly affect a man’s health and sexual activity, which can also affect their ability to have a baby and change his relationship.
What is Impotence?
Impotence or erectile dysfunction mainly refers, a person’s ability to maintain an erection or trouble in getting an erection. Around 30 million people worldwide are impotent, and 1 in 10 of them have ED for his entire life. Other body organs which help in erection are:
- Nervous system.
- Muscular system.
- Blood vessels.
If anyone of them is compromised, An adult male will have trouble in having a full erection.
There are many multiple causes of ED which are:
- Heart diseases.
- Anxiety, depression, stress, mood swings, guilt, and low self-esteem.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Peyronie’s diseases.
- Nerve damage.
- Abusive use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs like antidepressants, antihistamines.
- Prostate cancer.
- BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy).
- Exposed to radiation.
Treatment of impotence:
Suppose a male is experiencing impotence or having a problem in erection, an interruption in sexual desire, or lack of orgasm or ejaculation. He must find a professional urologist and report his problems to him. It can be a problem to tell the issue to the doctor, but it is important to treat it at the right time. The list of lab tests, a urologist may order is
- Testosterone level.
- Fasting lipid panel.
- Complete blood count.
- Urine Analysis.
- Cholesterol level test.
- Examination of genitals.
Symptoms of infertility or sterility:
The most important male sterility sign is unable to conceive a baby. There are no other noticeable signs for it. Sometimes due to hormonal problems or impotence, there might not be sperm production or ejaculation. However, many males do not experience symptoms and signs. Some common symptoms for make infertility are:
- Problems in Sexual arousal.
- Inability to maintain sexual intercourse.
- Problems in ejaculation.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Pain in testicles.
- Swelling and lump formation in the genitals.
- Inability to smell.
- Gynecomastia ( breast growth ).
- Removal of the body and facial hairs.
- Abnormal hormonal production.
- Low or no sperm count.
Causes of male infertility:
Male fertility is not only because of sperm problems. Still, it can also be caused by numerous diseases like blockages in vessels, illness, Chronic health issues, internal injuries, and many other factors that can contribute to male infertility. Multiple causes of male infertility are centered in three categories that are:
Changes in lifestyle prevent many diseases. Some health and lifestyle changes needed to prevent male sterility are followed:
- Abusive use of drugs shrink the testicles and reduce the quality and count of sperm.
- Excessive use of alcohol also affects the release of sperm. It causes erectile dysfunction and reduces the male hormone ( testosterone) levels. Heavy drinking also causes liver issues, which lead to infertility.
- Smoking affects fertility. Tobacco reduces the number of sperm, and ejaculation is compromised.
- Obesity also contributes to infertility issues. It impacts hormonal function affects fertility.
- Depression also affects fertility, not in males but in females too. It causes delayed pregnancy and delayed ejaculation with erectile dysfunction.
- Stress deals with hormonal production, which affects sperm release.
Some medical issues that cause sterility are:
- Infections sometimes interfere in sperm health. It blocks the passage and causes orchitis (inflammation in testicles) or epididymitis. Some infections lead to permanent damage in the testicles.
- Retrograde ejaculation causes infertility.
- In some males, due to spinal cord injuries, diabetes causes issues in ejaculation.
- A Gluten-free diet improves fertility. And celiac disease, which is caused by the sensitivity of gluten, impairs the scrotum function and sperm production.
- Males who had surgery of hernia, bladder, scrotal, urethra, or prostate have lifetime problems in sperm production and ejaculation.
- Hormonal imbalance causes infertility.
- Tubular problems in the transport of sperms also lead to sterility or ED.
- Genetic disorders like Klinefelter’s syndrome also causes infertility and no sperm production and reduced growth or reproductive organs.
- Varicocele is known as a reversible cause of infertility in males. Varicocele means swelling of veins draining the testicles. These result in low-quality sperm and reduced count.
- Intake of different medications decreases the rate of sperm production.
- Tumors and cancer affect male fertility. Chemotherapy And radiation therapy also impairs sperm release.
Other than medical and lifestyle changes, some environmental factors that impact sperm quality and release:
- Exposure to chemicals like benzene, xylene, pesticides, organic compounds can cause lower sperm count.
- Long term exposure to heavy metals like lead also comes in the line of male sterility.
- Exposure to x-rays and radiation also causes a decrease in sperm counts and impotence.
- Living or staying in high temperatures for a long term can lower the sperm function and number of sperm. It can also create problems in ejaculation.
- Being in a sitting position of stiffness can also impact testicle function and decreases the sperm count and does not maintains an erection.
Possible complications of male infertility:
Male infertility is unknown many of the time, but when a male adult comes to knows it or his partner, then it can be stressful for both of them. And cause many complications and personal issues. You can not prevent complications, but you can avoid some of the things which can reduce the complexities of male fertility and reduce the chances of implants or lifetime sterility.
- The most complicated thing in male fertility is SURGERIES. Surgeries can give relief temporary time but can cause lifetimes problems. It causes low sperm count than normal males even after surgery.
- The reproductive procedures are very much expensive. And requires many risky techniques.
- It causes problems in relationships and sometimes ends it.
- It can also develop a high level of stress, anxiety, and depression.
How to treat male infertility?
There are many treatments and medications to treat male infertility, but it good to know first what things you should avoid some known things that will help reduce the chances of sterility. Such things are:
- Stop alcohol intake.
- Avoid drugs.
- Do not smoke.
- Avoid taking stress.
- Reduce anxiety and depression.
- Don’t sit for a long time in the same position.
- Don’t put on excessive weight.
- Avoid things that overheat the testicles like sitting in a hot water tub or long time saunas.
- Don’t get frequent exposures to industrial or heavy metals, radiation, and x-rays.
By avoiding these known things it reduces the chances of male infertility.
For treatment and diagnosis of infertility, both partners are checked and ordered some lab tests. For male infertility that are:
- Physical examination.
- Past medical and family history.
- Semen analysis.
- Hormonal Testing.
- Scrotal analysis and ultrasound.
- Post-ejaculation urinalysis.
- Genetic tests.
- Sperm function test.
- Testicular biopsy.
- Transrectal ultrasound.
Without knowing the cause of infertility, effective treatment can not be given. In the cases of confirmed infertility, the person is assisted with reproductive techniques to make sure and start the treatment. The treatment of sterility or male infertility includes:
- Treatment of some hidden infections.
- Hormone imbalance treatments and medication.
- Medications for proper erection and ejaculation.
- Treatments for intercourse issues.
- Invitro fertilization (IVF) or Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).
In some special cases, according to the wishes people go for implants.
The conditions like impotency or sterility are hard to open up for both males and females. But if it is not discussed, then it can be permanent throughout life. It can not be prevented, but the chances can reduce by avoiding some things and improving your lifestyle. Addition to these things some tips can also improve your reproductive health that are:
- Exercising regularly.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Lose weight.
- Quit smoking, drugs, alcohol.
- Increase sex frequency or when the woman is ovulating.
These things will help in reducing the chance of sterility. Sperm problems can be genetic. People can be born with such problems. This problem is risky and stressful. Sometimes seeing a counselor or mental health psychologist can help you pass through this stage, else the stress will worsen this condition. Engage your partner too in these.
Can steroids cause infertility?
Yes, medications for different illnesses and diseases can cause infertility. Just like that, steroids also contribute to developing reproductive problems. Steroids cause hormonal imbalance, which disturbs the semen production and ejaculation.
Does genetics involve in male infertility?
Yes, genetics plays an important role in the sterility of a male or female. In some cases, scrotal problems or some illnesses are inherited, which can cause infertility when grown up.
What are sperm properties involved in male fertility?
These functions cause male fertility. If any of these are compromised, the male fertility will be reduced. Such functions are:
1. Sperm should be mature enough to fertilize the egg.
2. Sperm should be able to move and transport through the cervix.
3. Sperm should be active to carry.
4. Semen should have enough sperm count that can favor pregnancy.
5. Reproductive hormones like testosterone should be functional that can penetrate the semen and maintains the number of sperms.
When a male should see a doctor?
See the doctor immediately if you are having severe symptoms mentioned above. Suppose sexual intercourse is not so active and unable to maintain it if your partner is not conceiving a child after turns of intercourse. Suppose an adult has erection or ejaculation problems if a person is experiencing any lump formation, swelling, or pain in testicles. Suppose you have a history of injuries or surgeries in the genital area if a person has a history of testicular or sexual problems.
What to do if it is not solved after the treatment?
If a person had lifetime impotence or sterility than go for either adoption or donor sperm. If not then try IVF and ART.
Does lubricant reduce sperm count?
Adults use lubrication over genitals like penis and scrotum for effective sex, which can be harmful and cause impotency, erection dysfunction, problems in ejaculation, and decrease the sperm count. Other than that, ask your doctor what safe lubricants for sperm count are.
Is there risks in IVF or ART?
Yes, sometimes there can be a risk like ovulation or sperm can compromise. For females, breast growth can compromise. For males, there can be slow ejaculation or less numb of sperm.
A student of Surgical Technology from Dow University of Health Sciences. She brings her expertise on surgical procedures, knowledge on Human Anatomy and Modern Day Surgeries to help students understand and learn easier ways and help patients understand hospital procedures before their surgeries.