By Nico Strydom
The sign of male infertility is the inability to father a child in the absence of other clear signs or symptoms.
Male fertility is mainly diagnosed by means of a semen analysis where semen is tested for the number of sperms, the shape of the sperms and the movement of the sperms. Several other tests can also be done to measure fertility, including a physical examination by a urologist, a scrotal scan and blood tests. A low sperm count is fewer than 15 million sperms per millilitre of semen or a total sperm count of fewer than 39 million per ejaculation.
Signs of infertility:
- Problems with sexual functions such as erectile dysfuction or ejaculation
- Pain, swelling, or a lump in the testes
- Chromosomal or hormonal abnormality
- A low sperm count
What causes male infertility?
There are various causes, including medical and environmental causes:
- Varicoceles (varicose veins of the testicles) ─ the exact reason why they cause infertility is not clear but it probably has to do with abnormal testicular temperature regulation.
- Infections could affect sperm production and sperm health or prevent sperm from being released correctly.
- Ejaculation problems could cause semen not to be released correctly.
- Undescended testicles
- Hormonal imbalance
- Certain medications can also affect sperm production.
- Tumours can have a direct effect on the male sex organs.
- Certain sexually transmissible diseases can also affect fertility.
- Overexposure to certain environmental elements such as heat, toxic substances and chemicals could lower sperm production and sperm function.
Health and lifestyle causes:
- Alcohol and drugs can lower testosterone levels and cause fertility problems.
- Smoking also leads to a lower sperm count.
- Stress can affect certain hormones that are needed to produce sperm.
- Weight also plays a role because obesity can result in hormone changes, which could affect fertility
When should I see a doctor?
If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant and after a year of unprotected and regular sex are still not get pregnant, it is time to see a doctor. It would also be wise to see a doctor sooner if you experience erectile or ejaculation problems, experience pain or discomfort in the testes, have a family history of testicular problems or have previously undergone surgery in the area.
How is male infertility treated?
Some causes of male infertility can be rectified by means of surgery. There are also medications that can improve sperm production and sperm function. If any of these options do not work, there are other types of treatment specifically for reproductive purposes where sperm is obtained through normal ejaculation and could then be used for in vitro fertilisation.
The Urology Hospital: http://urology.co.za/health-information/urology-related-diseases/male-infertility/
Hello Doctor: http://www.hellodoctor.co.za/the-top-5-factors-that-affect-male-fertility/