There are many things that can cause infertility in men. The most common issues are sperm disorders and problems that affect how the testicles function.
Other factors, such as poor health or lifestyle choices can also play a significant role in male infertility. Unfortunately in about a quarter of couples, doctors are unable to identify the specific cause. Read on to learn more about some of the common causes of male infertility….
The most common cause of infertility in men is poor-quality or abnormal semen. This is the fluid that contains the sperm.
Sperm disorders can include:
- A low sperm count or no sperm at all
- Sperm that are not functioning correctly, meaning they are unable to swim to the egg and fertilise it.
- Sperm that has developed an abnormal shape, meaning they find it harder to move.
Hypogonadism is a condition where the male is unable to produce enough testosterone, which is the primary male sex hormone. Low testosterone levels can stop males from achieving an erection, affect their sex drive and can also affect sperm count.
There are different types of ejaculation disorders, including:
- Delayed ejaculation – when ejaculation is either very slow or does not occur. This may be a psychological or a physical problem.
- Erectile dysfunction – when a male is unable to keep an erection long enough to have sex.
- Retrograde ejaculation – when semen is ejaculated backwards into the bladder, rather than out of the body when orgasming.
- Anorgasmia – when a person is unable to reach an orgasm and ejaculate. This can sometimes be caused by nerve damage.
There are a number of other lifestyle, environment and health factors that can affect male fertility. These include:
Drugs – Anabolic steroids taken to stimulate muscle strength and growth can be catastrophic to healthy sperm production and in some cases shut it down completely. This is because is stops the body from making the hormones needed to produce sperm.
These drugs can also lead to erectile dysfunction and cause the testicles to shrink.
Use of cocaine or marijuana can temporarily reduce sperm count and have a negative effect on sperm quality.
Alcohol – Drinking alcohol can lower testosterone levels, decrease sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction.
Smoking -This can reduce the quality of your sperm and lower sperm count. It is also possible for passive smoking to affect male fertility.
Weight – Excess weight can lead to unbalanced testosterone levels and reduced semen quality.
Infection – Some infections can damage sperm health and interfere with production. It is advised to wait at least three months after a bad infection in order for the body to begin producing healthy sperm again.
Overheating – Heat in extreme amounts can damage the testes and decline semen quality. Frequent use of hot tubs, sitting for long periods, wearing tight underwear or working on a laptop computer can all increase the temperature in your scrotum area and may temporarily impair your sperm count.
Radiation – Exposure to radiation can affect sperm production. Did you know that working as a flight attendant or pilot can affect male fertility? This is because of the increased exposure to cosmic ionizing radiation, which reaches higher levels at flight altitudes.
Men suffering from infertility problems may do well to look at their occupations, where exposure to certain substances or conditions could be a contributory factor to their infertility.