Male Infertility: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

In the complex stuff of human existence, being parents is a shared aspiration that connects us all. However, certain people may find this path difficult, and male infertility is one such obstacle. Male infertility is a secret battle that affects millions of people worldwide, yet conversations about female reproductive health sometimes overshadow it. Over five million couples in the US struggle with infertility, making it a widespread issue. One in six couples who are attempting to conceive is affected by infertility. A main or contributing component in at least half of all cases of infertility is a malefactor. This indicates that approximately 10% of all American males trying to conceive are infertile.

In this blog, we will examine the diagnosis, causes, symptoms, and potential treatments of male infertility in this extensive guide to help you understand its complexities.
What is male infertility?
Types of male infertility
What are male infertility facts?
What are the signs of infertility in males?
What are the causes of infertility in males?
What is the treatment of male infertility?

What is male infertility?

The incapacity of a sexually mature male to conceive a fertile female is known as male infertility. It is responsible for 40–50% of infertility in humans. It affects around 7% of all men. Semen deficiency is a common cause of male infertility, and the quality of the semen is an indicator of male fertility. Advanced sperm studies examining intracellular sperm components have been developed more recently. It is a complicated problem that is impacted by a number of biological, environmental, and lifestyle variables. Contrary to popular belief, men also have a role in fertility and infertility is not just a female issue.

Types of male infertility

Male infertility can take many different forms, each of which is distinguished by specific abnormalities in sperm parameters. The following four forms of male infertility are common:
1. Azoospermia:
A condition known as azoospermia occurs when there are no sperm in the ejaculate. It falls into two primary categories:
a. Obstructive Azoospermia:
Sperm cannot reach the ejaculate due to a physical obstruction, which is known as obstructive azoospermia. Infections, vasectomy, and congenital abnormalities are common causes. Treatment options may include surgical procedures like reproductive tract repair or vasectomy reversal.
b. Non-obstructive Azoospermia:
In this kind, there is no blockage and insufficient sperm production by the testicles. Hormonal abnormalities, genetics, or testicular failure are possible causes. Hormonal therapy, lifestyle modifications, or assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as testicular sperm extraction (TESE), which removes viable sperm directly from the testicles, may all be part of the treatment plan.
2. Oligospermia:
An ejaculation with a low sperm count is indicative of oligospermia. Oligospermia is defined by the World Health Organization as less than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Oligospermia can have a variety of causes, such as environmental conditions, genetic factors, testicular problems, and hormone imbalances. The underlying cause of the condition may be addressed, along with lifestyle changes and assisted reproductive methods.
3. Teratospermia:
The term “teratospermia” describes the significant proportion of sperm with deformed morphology found in ejaculate. For fertilization to be successful, sperm morphology is essential, and abnormalities in shape can prevent sperm from penetrating the egg. Teratospermia can result from exposure to environmental chemicals, diseases, or genetic causes. A single sperm is directly injected into an egg in an assisted reproductive procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Other treatment possibilities include dietary modifications, antioxidant therapy, and other assisted reproductive procedures.
4. Asthenospermia
A marked decrease in sperm motility is a characteristic of asthenospermia, sometimes referred to as sperm motility problems. For sperm to get to the egg and fertilize it, motility is essential. Asthenospermia can be brought on by infections, genetic disorders, hormone imbalances, or anatomical anomalies. To treat the underlying reason, lifestyle modifications and assisted reproductive methods such as IUI or IVF with ICSI may be necessary.

It’s important to understand that different types of male infertility are not exclusive to one another and that some people may have more than one of these problems. Successful treatment also frequently entails a customized strategy based on the particular causes found via in-depth diagnostic assessments. A reproductive specialist’s advice is essential for obtaining an accurate diagnosis and creating a successful treatment strategy.
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What are male infertility facts?

Male infertility is a common problem that affects a large proportion of couples globally. For individuals and couples trying to overcome infertility obstacles, knowing the facts about male infertility is essential. Key information on male infertility is as follows:
  • Occurrence: 40 to 50 percent of cases of infertility are caused by males. It’s critical to understand that both couples participate in conception and that infertility is not just a female issue.

  • Sperm count variability: A normal sperm count is defined by the World Health Organization as having at least 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Sperm counts can vary, though, and sperm production can be influenced by several factors including age, health, and lifestyle.

  • Age Impact: Age can have an impact on male fertility as well, even though it is typically linked to a decrease in female fertility. Beyond the age of 40, both the quality and quantity of sperm tend to steadily decline, and older men are linked to a higher chance of genetic defects in their offspring.

  • Contributing Factors: Male infertility can be exacerbated by a number of illnesses, including diabetes, immunological disorders, and erectile dysfunction. Sperm production can also be impacted by extended exposure to high temperatures, such as regular use of hot baths or saunas.

  • Role of Varicocele: Male infertility is frequently caused by varicocele, a common and curable swelling of the veins within the scrotum. Enhancing sperm quality and increasing the likelihood of conception can be achieved by surgically repairing a varicocele or through other therapies

  • Impact on Emotional Health: Male infertility can significantly affect a person’s or a couple’s emotional health. Stress, guilt, and feelings of humiliation can be exacerbated by the stigma and social expectations around fertility. It’s critical to look for emotional assistance through support groups or counseling.
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What are the signs of infertility in men?

Many times, male infertility doesn’t show any overt or obvious signs at first. In contrast to other medical disorders where symptoms are readily visible, male infertility is typically discovered when a couple is having trouble becoming pregnant. Subtle signs and symptoms, though, could point to a problem with male infertility. It’s crucial to remember that the lack of symptoms does not always mean that there are no fertility issues.

The following list of possible signs of infertility in men includes:
Changes in Sexual Function:
Erectile Dysfunction : Infertility-related underlying problems may be indicated by difficulty getting or keeping an erection during sexual activity.

Ejaculation Problems: Infertility issues may be exacerbated by ejaculation problems, such as premature ejaculation or total incapacity to ejaculate.
Pain or Discomfort:
Discomfort or Swelling: Prolonged discomfort or swelling in the testicles, which may be linked to diseases like varicocele, may affect fertility and sperm production.
Problems with Libido:
Low Sexual Desire: Hormonal imbalances that impact fertility may be the cause of a decline in sexual desire or a lack of interest in engaging in sexual activities.
Increased Weight or Obesity:
Obesity: Being overweight can lead to hormonal imbalances and have a detrimental effect on fertility, particularly when combined with unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Underlying illnesses:
Diabetes: If left unchecked, diabetes can have an impact on sexual function and increase the risk of infertility.
Genetic Disorders: Some genetic disorders can show up physically as features that indicate infertility.
It’s essential to highlight that experiencing one or more of these symptoms does not always indicate that there are fertility problems. Moreover, they are not unique to infertility. In addition, infertility in men can happen without any obvious signs. It is advised that couples who are having trouble getting pregnant get professional assistance. A semen analysis is the main diagnostic procedure used for male infertility. It evaluates multiple sperm health indicators. Speaking with a reproductive health specialist can assist in figuring out the underlying reasons and the best course of action for each person’s unique circumstances.

What are the causes of infertility in males?

A detailed investigation of the numerous variables affecting reproductive health is necessary for understanding the reasons for male infertility. Here are a few significant participants:
Disorders of Sperm:
Low Sperm Count (Oligospermia): The likelihood of fertilizing an egg can be decreased if there are fewer sperm in the ejaculate than usual. Sperm Absence in Ejaculate (Azoospermia): There could be a blockage, problems with production, or other reasons why there are no sperm in the ejaculate.
Hormonal Imbalances:
Testosterone Deficiency: Sperm production may be impacted by low testosterone levels. Infertility may result from follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) hormonal abnormalities.
Aspects of the Environment and Lifestyle:
Toxin Exposure: The generation of sperm can be adversely affected by occupational exposure to specific chemicals, radiation, or toxins. Alcohol and Smoking: Excessive alcohol intake and smoking have both been related to lower sperm count and quality.

Drug Use: Using drugs, such as recreational and anabolic steroids, can have an impact on fertility.
It is frequently necessary to do an in-depth examination that includes a medical history, physical examinations, hormone testing, genetic screening, and semen analysis in order to determine the precise causes of male infertility. A comprehensive evaluation conducted by a reproductive health specialist may help in determining the fundamental causes of male infertility and direct the creation of a suitable treatment strategy.
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What is the treatment of male infertility?

The specific underlying causes of male infertility that are found by a thorough investigation will determine the course of treatment. Improving sperm motility, quality, or quantity is the aim of treatment, which also aims to address any problems impeding the reproductive process. The following are typical treatment for infertility in men:
Medical treatments:
Hormone Replacement treatment: To boost sperm production, hormone replacement treatment may be used to address hormonal imbalances such as low testosterone or excessive levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be used to treat infections that are found to be the cause of infertility in order to potentially restore fertility.
Surgical Procedures:
Repairing varicoceles: Surgically enlarging the veins in the scrotum might increase the quantity and quality of sperm.
Reconstructive Surgery: The reproductive tract may need to have obstructions or abnormalities fixed surgically.
Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE):
In cases of non-obstructive azoospermia, where there is no sperm in the ejaculate, TESE may be performed to collect sperm directly through the testicles for use in assisted reproductive procedures.
Vasectomy Reversal:
Vasectomy reversal surgery can reconnect the reproductive tract for men who have had a vasectomy and want to become fertile again.
It’s important to remember that the specific health issues, as well as the choices and circumstances of the individuals or couples involved, will determine the course of treatment. Working together with urologists, other medical professionals, and reproductive specialists is often necessary while treating male infertility. Deciding on the best course of action for treating male infertility requires prompt medical guidance and a comprehensive evaluation.
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In conclusion, male infertility is a complex problem with many facets that affects a large number of couples globally. Male reproductive health is common, but it’s frequently not well understood, which breeds stigma and misconceptions. People and society at large must comprehend the several facets of male infertility, including its causes, symptoms, and possible therapies. For couples facing male infertility, the road to parenthood can be difficult and frequently filled with emotional and psychological strain. Understanding the psychological effects of infertility and the necessity of comprehensive assistance, such as counseling and community resources, is crucial.

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