Male Infertility: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

by Prachee last updated -

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Male infertility is an issue affecting the lives of several couples worldwide. Around the world, the percentage of couples suffering from infertility is reported to be about 10-15 percent, which translates to over 60 to 80 million couples. Out of which, approximately 50 percent of cases can be attributed to male infertility. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, male factor infertility is the only identifiable cause in about 8 percent couples in the U.S. who are failing to conceive.

What is Male Infertility?

Clinically, infertility is considered a disease which is defined by the inability to achieve pregnancy after a year or more of regular unprotected sex. Male infertility is the reproductive health issues faced by a man in fertile age, which make him unable to achieve pregnancy with his partner. While a male being physically unable to bear a child is not the usual first thought, it is a condition which is ailing several men worldwide. The usual culprit is assumed to be a low sperm count, but there are several factors to be considered.

Signs and Symptoms of Male Infertility

There are no telling signs of male infertility to the naked eye, as is usually the case with female infertility. The possibility is evident only when your partner is unable to get pregnant after having tried for about a year. It is at this stage that you need to consider ‘male factor infertility’ along with female factor infertility.

If you suspect that your reproductive health is responsible for your inability to conceive as a couple, it is best to seek diagnosis and treatment. It is also advisable to get an overall health evaluation for you and your partner when you decide to try for a child.

What Causes Male Infertility?

Male infertility can be caused by a variety of reasons ranging from genetics, environment, lifestyle, and more. Sometimes, it is possible for a combination of causes to be responsible for this condition. Some of these factors also affect the quantity and quality of sperms, which in turn affects the reproductive function. Here are some of the causes or factors that determine male infertility:

Physical Causes:

  • Chromosomal disorders and defects such as Klinefelter syndrome, Down’s syndrome
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Testicular injuries
  • Overheating of the testicles
  • Undescended or small testicles
  • Varicocele, a condition where veins draining the testicles are swollen
  • Diabetes, cancer, some other chronic diseases
  • Celiac disease
  • Obesity
  • Surgeries for the prostate, hernia, etc.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Conditions such as retrograde ejaculation, erectile dysfunction which hamper sexual performance
  • Dry Orgasm

Lifestyle Causes:

  • Use of steroids
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Use of drugs
  • Medications being used for other conditions

Psychological Causes:

Environmental Causes:

  • Radiation exposure
  • Heavy chemical exposure

Apart from this, your emotional well-being also matters. Anxiety, unhappiness, lack of mental peace are also important determinants of your reproductive health. While the correlation between age and women’s fertility is well-known, age is a factor that can also matter for men. While it seems like a simple reproductive function granted by creation, fertility is a sensitive aspect of your health that can be easily affected by any of the above or more such unsuspected factors.

Male Infertility Treatment

Male infertility can be caused by a single reason, or several causes together can lead to it. Depending on the reason, its curability and the course of treatment can be determined. There are several options available today for male infertility treatment. Primary diagnostics might include a regular physical examination, tests for the analysis of semen, hormones, genetics, and more. On the basis of these results, treatment could include surgeries, medications for improving sperm quality, assisted reproductive technologies, hormonal treatment, and more.

If you have been failing to get pregnant after having tried for about a year, it is best that both you and your partner consult a doctor to get an appropriate diagnosis. The best course of treatment will vary for everyone, depending on their individual situations.

Which doctor should I consult for male infertility?

Females can approach a gynecologist for any issues with their reproductive health. However, if you are seeking to get diagnosed as a couple to understand the root causes of your infertility better and seek the further course of treatment, you can consult a ‘reproductive endocrinologist’, commonly known as infertility specialists. To seek consultation about their reproductive health, men can also approach a urologist or an andrologist.

Male infertility is quickly gaining a major share in the burden of men’s overall health. It is affecting the lives of several couples worldwide. Traditionally, the inability to bear a child was assumed to have something to do with the female and her health. However, the recent trend is a positive one. All stakeholders, including healthcare professionals as well as the families, are gradually being more aware and accepting of male factor infertility. Not only does this shift the focus from the woman, but men are also being provided with more awareness, creating more scope for precautions, as well as further support and options for those diagnosed with the condition.

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About the Author

Prachee is a content writer for Organic Facts and is responsible for writing on the latest wellness trends. A former Journalism & Media teacher, she prides herself on being able to seamlessly dabble between health, science, and technology. She has completed her Masters in Communication Studies from the University of Pune, India as well as an online course on “Introduction to Food and Health” from Stanford University, US. Prachee fancies herself to be a poet and a cook when the rare lightning of inspiration strikes.

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