Male infertility can be caused by low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices and other factors may contribute to male infertility.
Nearly 1 in 7 couples is infertile, which means they haven’t been able to conceive a child even though they’ve had frequent, unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer. In up to half of these couples, male infertility plays at least a partial role.
The inability to conceive a child can be stressful and frustrating, but a number of treatments are available for male infertility. But, in this article, i will be discussing some of the medical, environmental and lifestyle causes of infertility in men.
Overexposure to certain environmental elements such as heat, toxins and chemicals can reduce sperm production or sperm function. Specific causes include:
a.) Industrial chemicals: Extended exposure to certain chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents and painting materials may contribute to low sperm counts.
b.) Overheating the testicles: Elevated temperatures may impair sperm production and function. Although studies are limited and are inconclusive, frequent use of saunas or hot tubs may temporarily impair your sperm count.
Sitting for long periods, wearing tight clothing or working on a laptop computer for long stretches of time also may increase the temperature in your scrotum and may slightly reduce sperm production. But, the research isn’t conclusive.
c.) Radiation or X-rays: Exposure to radiation can reduce sperm production, though it will often eventually return to normal. With high doses of radiation, sperm production can be permanently reduced.
The lifestyle of a man can also attribute to the gradual loss of his sperm count. Some causes include:
a.) Weight: Obesity can impair fertility in several ways, including directly impacting sperm themselves as well as by causing hormone changes that reduce male fertility.
b.) Alcohol use: Drinking alcohol can lower testosterone levels, cause erectile dysfunction and decrease sperm production. Liver disease caused by excessive drinking also may lead to fertility problems.
c.) Tobacco smoking: Men who smoke may have a lower sperm count than do those who don’t smoke. Secondhand smoke also may affect male fertility.
d.) Drug use: Anabolic steroids taken to stimulate muscle strength and growth can cause the testicles to shrink and sperm production to decrease. Use of cocaine or marijuana may temporarily reduce the number and quality of your sperm as well.
Problems with male fertility can be caused by a number of health issues and medical treatments, which include:
a.) Infection: Some infections can interfere with sperm production or sperm health or can cause scarring that blocks the passage of sperm. These include inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis) or testicles (orchitis) and some sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhea or HIV. Although some infections can result in permanent testicular damage, most often sperm can still be retrieved.
b.) Varicocele: A varicocele is a swelling of the veins that drain the testicle. It’s the most common reversible cause of male infertility. Although the exact reason that varicoceles cause infertility is unknown, it may be related to abnormal blood flow. Varicoceles lead to reduced sperm quantity and quality.
3.) Hormone imbalances: Infertility can result from disorders of the testicles themselves or an abnormality affecting other hormonal systems including the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. Low testosterone (male hypogonadism) and other hormonal problems have a number of possible underlying causes.
4.) Prior surgeries: Certain surgeries may prevent you from having sperm in your ejaculate, including vasectomy, scrotal or testicular surgeries, prostate surgeries, and large abdominal surgeries performed for testicular and rectal cancers, among others.