Low Sperm Count is the medical term used to describe the condition in which a man’s semen contains an abnormally lower quantity of sperm. The optimum quantity of sperm per milliliter of semen is at least 15 million. Any man who is found to produce less than that figure is diagnosed with the condition once the necessary tests have been conducted. Low Sperm Count is one of the most common male infertility problems and being diagnosed with the condition means the affected man’s ability to get an egg fertilized to impregnate his partner is minimal. However, it doesn’t necessarily make impregnating a woman impossible. In fact, majority of those diagnosed with this complication have gone on to successfully get their partners pregnant.
Symptoms of Low Sperm Count
Having problems conceiving a child especially after trying with multiple partners is usually the most conspicuous sign that a man may be suffering from Low Sperm Count. This may be caused by hormonal disorders or complications that prevent the right amount of sperm to be released during ejaculation. Additional signs of the condition may be:
- Sexual dysfunctional issues including erectile dysfunction, low sex drives and/ or the inability to maintain an erection.
- Testicular pain or other types of physical discomfort around the area.
- Lack of facial or body hair, indicating inadequate quantities of hormones
Research has indicated several factors affect the production of optimum quantities of sperm in mature men. Some of the most common include:
- Use of narcotics
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Frequent exposure of the testicles to excess heat
- Genetic fertility problems
- Presence of chronic diseases
- Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other forms of cancer treatments
- History of certain medications
- Excessive pressure on the testicles as a result of prolonged hours of driving or sitting on horses and bikes.
Causes of Low Sperm Count
Natural sperm production is a delicate process and requires vital organs such as the hypothalamus, pituitary glands and testes, to be in optimum shape. After the production of sperm in the testes, various tubes are tasked with the transfer of sperm to the penis through semen. Problems with any of these procedures can lead to fertility complications such as Low Sperm Count. Abnormal sperm shape or their inability to swim well can also lead to the condition. Here are other causes of Low Sperm Count:
- Various types of infections ranging from STIs to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) as well as swelling of the testicles can result in less-than-optimum quantities of sperm production. Inflammation of any of the male reproductive organs can also result in this condition.
- Retrograde Ejaculation and other abnormalities with a man’s ability to ejaculate during sexual intercourse can lead to Low Sperm Count. This ejaculation problem results in semen being released into a man’s bladder instead of getting out of the penis. Some men may also be unable to ejaculate at all during sexual activity.
- Varicocele, a condition that results in the inflammation of testicular veins can also lead to various infertility problems in men. Sperm production gets affected, leading to minimal quantities per square milliliter of semen.
- A man’s immune system may flag sperm cells and attack them just like the cells of cancer and other infections that invade the body. This kills sperm and leads to Low Sperm Count.
- A man’s reproductive system may be attacked by cancerous cells and other tumors. Cancer cells may metastasize to the hypothalamus and other organs vital to male fertility. As a result, this can affect the quality and quantity of sperm production. In fact, Lots of cancer treatment options impact negatively on sperm production.
- Fetal testicular development problems are a leading cause of various male infertility problems.
- The quality and quantity of sperm produced may be affected by hormonal disorders such as defects in the pituitary glands and other organs.
- Infections or blockages to the sperm ducts can lead to inadequate quantities of sperm being transferred during ejaculation, after production in the testicles.
- Every healthy male is born with two chromosomes i.e. X and Y. However, a birth defect known as Klinefelter’s Syndrome may result in the development of three chromosomes i.e. two X and one Y. This affects normal sexual functionality and leads to infertility problems.
- High levels of stress can also lead to male reproductive system disorders including Low Sperm Count.
If you and your partner are yet to conceive after more than 12 months of regular sex without birth control measures, it may be time to seek treatment for Low Sperm Count. Additionally, if you are experiencing abnormal sexual functioning including the inability to achieve and maintain erections, seeking treatment should be a priority. Don’t forget to report any other symptoms you may be experiencing including pain and discomfort around the testicles, to your fertility specialist.
Your doctor will only be able to provide the best form of treatment if he or she is fully aware of your symptoms as well as medical history. Do you have history of any type of penile, testicular or scrotal surgery? Do not hesitate to inform your doctor if your answer to any of these questions is yes.