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What is male infertility?

Male infertility means a man not being able to become a father. Also, infertility is the inability of a sexually active without using any contraceptive methods to achieve pregnancy in one year. Male infertility is often referred to when the cause of the fertility problem is found in the man. In most cases, the causes of male infertility are either the semen is unable to reach the egg, this is known as obstructive or the semen is of poor quality, this is known as non-obstructive. In approximately 30-40% of patients, no male factor is found (idiopathic/unexplainable male infertility). It is estimated that male infertility is found in approximately half of all infertile couples.

Symptoms of Male Infertility

Infertility as such doesn’t cause any particular type of symptoms in men. But in case if the infertility is caused by any medical or surgical condition or may be due to low hormone levels, the patient may have certain symptoms. The symptoms will depend on the cause of infertility. A condition that affects your testicles may cause:

  • Swelling and pain in the testicles
  • Prominent veins in the testicles

Any disorder or problem in the prostate gland or epididymis (the tube that carries sperm from the testicles), may cause:

  • Blood in the semen
  • Pain when ejaculating
  • Trouble ejaculating during the sex

Causes of Male Infertility

Sperm Disorders

The most common reason for male infertility is a problem with sperm. It may be that:

  • Not enough sperm in the semen
  • Sperm don’t move as fast as they need to
  • Sperm is in the wrong shape

Patients may have all these three problems at the same time. In some men, there are no or nil sperm in their semen. This condition is commonly known as obstructive azoospermia. In this condition, the tubes that carry sperm from your testicles to your penis (seminal ducts) are blocked. You may be born with this or you may develop it after an infection, bladder neck surgery, or may be due to scarring after an inguinal hernia repair.

Hypogonadism

If a man has the disease condition of hypogonadism, he may not able to produce any hormone such as testosterone. This may result in low sperm count, or the person can’t get an erection and have low sex drive (libido).

Ejaculation disorders

There are many problems that can affect how you ejaculate (release semen during sex).

  • Erectile dysfunction – you can’t keep an erection for long enough to have sex.
  • Retrograde ejaculation – your semen is ejaculated backwards into your bladder rather than out of your body when you orgasm.
  • Delayed ejaculation: this means you are not able to ejaculate inside your partner’s vagina. This may be a psychological problem.
  • Anorgasmia – you don’t reach an orgasm and ejaculate. This may be because you don’t have enough feeling in your penis (sometimes caused by nerve damage).

How can I Boost my Fertility?

Timing

Having sex every two to three days will maximize the chance of pregnancy by making sure you’re having sex during your partner’s most fertile time of the month.

Lifestyle Modification
  • Make some changes to your lifestyle.
  • Stop smoking and don’t regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. Some illegal drugs can also affect fertility.
  • Lose excess weight, because being overweight can affect fertility.
Avoid heat

If your scrotum (which contains your testicles) is too warm, this may reduce sperm quality. Loose-fitting underwear may help to lower scrotal temperature.

Avoid work hazards

Some jobs involve working with hazards that can affect your fertility. These include heat, metals, pesticides and X-rays.

Reduce stress

Having trouble conceiving can be stressful. This may affect your sex drive or your relationship, meaning you have sex less frequently.

Treatment for male infertility

Medicines

If you have low testosterone levels (hypogonadism), your doctor may suggest gonadotrophin injections to improve your fertility. These trigger your body to make testosterone and produce sperm. If you have retrograde ejaculation, sperm are ejaculated backward into your bladder instead of through your urethra and out of your body. Your doctor may prescribe medicines such as pseudoephedrine to help close the opening to your bladder. Medicines such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) may be helpful if you have trouble getting an erection.

Surgery

Having no sperm in your semen is often caused by a blockage in the tubes that take sperm from your testicles to your penis. Surgery may be possible, to remove the blockage and improve your fertility.

Dietary Modification

Eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants: These nutrients help prevent sperm defects and boost motility.

Include Zinc in your food:  Deficiency of Zinc may lead to clumping of zinc which may lead to infertility. So take enough amount of zinc in the diet.

Incorporate Folic acid: Folic acid is critical for male fertility. Try to take at least 400 micrograms of Folic acid daily to produce healthy sperm.

Limit alcohol intake: wine, beer, and hard liquor may reduce sperm count and abnormally shaped sperm. Try to cut down the daily intake to increase the chance of conceiving.