Infertility: It Is a Man’s Problem Too!
10-04-2018 | Posted By: Chhavi | 505 View(s)
Infertility affects both men and women. However, in some countries, the concept of male infertility is ignored, and women are usually targeted for being unable to bear children. Studies, however, show that in nearly 50% of all infertility cases, the cause can be attributed to a problem in the man. Therefore, infertility is not just a woman’s issue. Male infertility is due to abnormal sperm function, low sperm production, injuries, lifestyle choices, and chronic health problems. Today, we are going to talk about male infertility in detail.
What are The Symptoms of Male Infertility?
Some of the common symptoms of male infertility include
1. Problems with sexual function.
2. Pain in the testicle area
3. Swelling or a lump in the testicle area
4. Inability to smell
5. Decreased facial or body hair
6. Abnormal breast growth
7. Having a low sperm count
You must see a doctor and get a health checkup done if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above.
What Causes Infertility in Men?
There are a range of factors that lead to male infertility. The causes of male infertility can be divided into three major categories: Medical causes, environmental causes, and lifestyle causes.
1. Medical Causes
There are some infections that can harm sperm health or cause scarring that blocks the passage of sperm. Inflammation of the testicles (orchitis), sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhoea or HIV, are some of the infections that can lead to male infertility.
1. Ejaculation Problems
Retrograde ejaculation is a condition that causes fertility problems in men. In this condition, semen enters the bladder during organs instead of emerging out the tip of the penis. Some of the conditions that can cause retrograde ejaculation are spinal injuries, diabetes, and surgery of the urethra, bladder, and prostate.
The male reproductive organs can also be affected by cancers and nonmalignant tumours. In some cases, radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy to treat tumours can also affect male fertility.
3. Hormonal Imbalances
Disorders of the testicles can also lead to infertility in men. Medical conditions that affect other hormonal systems including the thyroid, pituitary, hypothalamus and adrenal glands can also cause infertility in men.
4. Sexual Intercourse Problems
Premature ejaculation, painful intercourse, erectile dysfunction, anatomical abnormalities, and psychological problems can also cause infertility in men.
Certain surgeries including vasectomy, inguinal hernia repairs, testicular surgeries, prostate surgeries, and large abdominal surgeries performed for testicular cancers can cause infertility in men.
There are certain medications such as cancer medications, antifungal medications, ulcer drugs, testosterone replacement therapy, and an anabolic steroid that can lead to low sperm production and decrease the chances of being fertile.
7. Digestive Disorders
Celiac disease, a digestive disease caused by sensitivity to gluten can also cause infertility in men.
8. Chromosome Defects
Klinefelter’s Syndrome is an inherited disorder in which a male is born with two X chromosomes, and one Y chromosome can cause abnormal development of the male reproductive organs. Some of the other genetic syndromes that are linked with infertility in men are Kallmann’s syndrome, Kartagener’s syndrome, and cystic fibrosis.
Varicocele is one of the major causes of infertility in men, but it can be reversed. It is a swelling of the veins that drain the testicle which leads to reduced quality of the sperm. Varicocele can be treated, and the treatment can help improve sperm numbers and function, leading to conception.
10. Environmental Causes
The major environmental causes of infertility in men include:
11. Metal Exposure
Heavy exposure to lead or other heavy metals can lead to fertility problems in men.
Exposure to radiation can affect quantity and quality of sperm, leading to infertility.
13. Industrial Chemicals
Heavy exposure to chemicals including toluene, xylene, pesticides, organic solvents, and painting materials can lead to low sperm counts.
14. Lifestyle, Health and Other Causes
These causes of male infertility include:
15. Alcohol Consumption
Excessive consumption of alcohol can lower the testosterone levels, causing erectile dysfunction. It may also decrease sperm production, leading to infertility.
16. Drug Use
Many people take anabolic steroids to build muscle. However, excessive use of the steroids can cause the sperm production to decrease. Use of marijuana and cocaine may also affect the number and quality of sperm.
Being obese can be harmful to your health. Obesity can cause hormonal changes in the body that may reduce male fertility. It can directly impact sperm too, leading to infertility in men.
Severe emotional stress can interfere with hormones needed to produce sperm, leading to fertility problems in men.
How to Prevent Infertility?
There are certain types of male infertility that cannot be prevented. However, there are some causes of male infertility that can be avoided. Some of the simple tips to prevent infertility are:
Do not smoke
1. Do not consume alcohol
2. Refrain from using drugs
3. Manage your weight
4. Avoid exposure to heavy metals, industrial chemicals, and other toxins.
5. Do not take emotional stress.
Go for a regular health checkup to keep infections and medical conditions at bay.
How is Male Infertility Diagnosed?
There are a number of tests to know the cause of infertility in men. First of all, the doctor conducts a general physical examination which includes examining genitals. The doctor also takes a medical history of the patient and ask questions about chronic health problems, injuries, inherited conditions or surgeries that could affect fertility.
Some of the tests that are recommended to identify the cause of infertility are:
1. Scrotal Ultrasound
2. Hormone testing
3. Post-ejaculation urinalysis
4. Genetic tests
5. Testicular biopsy
6. Specialised sperm function tests
7. Transrectal ultrasound
How is Male Infertility Treated?
In most cases, the exact cause of infertility cannot be identified. However, the patients are recommended treatments or procedures that will result in conception.
Treatments for male infertility include:
2. Antibiotic treatment for sexual intercourse problems
3. Hormone medications
4. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
It is essential; to consult a doctor if you experience symptoms of infertility. Talk to the doctor without any hesitation to understand more about the problem. Avoid consuming alcohol and adopt healthy practices to keep yourself healthy.