The Ins and Outs of a Low Sperm Count
The Ins and Outs of a Low Sperm Count
A lot of people think that when they hear the term low sperm count that that individual will have problems getting their wife pregnant. While that is part of the case, there is a lot more to it than just that. The fact that a person has a low sperm count is just the beginning. There are many causes to a low sperm count and on top of that, there are any negative effects that can happen to a man with a low sperm count. In some cases, a low sperm count can be a warning for something more severe and dangerous.
How do you get a low sperm count and what can it lead to?
For starters, the technical term for not having any measurable amount of sperm in your body is azoospermia. This has been linked to about 20 percent of the infertility problems of men. In something that can cause more worry for men, for those that are diagnosed with azoospermia before they turn 30 face eight times higher chance of developing testicular and other cancers compared to those who aren’t diagnosed. In fact, of men between the age of 15 and 45, about four million – or 15 percent – of those men are infertile. Of those four million, 600,000 are believed to be azoospermic.
Types of Azoospermia
There are two reasons why azoospermia develops. One is obstructive and the other is non-obstructive. With obstructive azoospermia, a blockage stops the flow of healthy sperm from your testes to reach the ejaculation. With non-obstructive azoospermia, your testes either didn’t produce enough sperm – or any at all – to reach ejaculation.
Symptoms of Low Sperm Count
Having a low sperm count is something you might not know you have until you repeatedly try to conceive a child and are unable to do so. At this stage in your life, the sudden hit of being unable to reproduce could hurt your ego, but there are things you can do.
Since there usually isn’t any known symptom of low sperm count, what it may have come down to could have been a hereditary condition passed onto you at birth such as a hormonal imbalance or any other condition that would block sperm from being ejaculated. If you have a low sperm count, you may have problems maintaining an erection – erectile dysfunction – or have a low sex drive. You may also feel swelling in your testicles or even pain or a lump in the area. You may also have experience signs of hormone abnormality like decreased facial hair and other body hair.
When Should I see a Doctor?
As we said, since there are no obvious symptoms of low sperm count until you realize that you have been trying to have a child and can’t conceive. If you and your spouse continually try to conceive a child, you should both seek the opinion of a medical professional to determine who may have the imbalance and what can done by either of you to change things. Among the other times when you should see a doctor are:
- Sex Drive
If you have a low sex drive, erection issues, ejaculation issues or any other problems related to having intercourse or staying in the mood, you should seek out the assistance of a doctor. They can either determine that you have erectile dysfunction or test your sperm to see if you have a low count.
If you feel any pain in your testicles or anywhere in the area, it could be your first sign that you need to see a doctor. You might also want to go to the doctor if there is any discomfort that you have never felt before or if there is any unusual swelling in the area.
In the past, if you have had any history of any testicle problems, you should go to the doctor again. It could be nothing or it could be your previous issues coming back. This also applies to any prostate or sexual issues that may arise again.
Much like if you had any previous history of problems in your testicles, prostate or any sexual issues, you will want to see a doctor if you have already had surgery on your testicles, groin or scrotum. If you have and you begin to feel the same problems that you felt prior to the surgery, you should visit your doctor immediately.
Cause of Low Sperm Count
There are various problems that can be attributed to a low sperm count. When it comes to your body actually producing sperm, it is a long process that can be hindered at any number of areas. For you to produce sperm, your testicles need to be functioning properly, as do you pituitary glands and hypothalamus. These organs are located in your brain produce hormones that begin the sperm production process and when these areas aren’t working up to their full capacity, problems will arise. Once sperm is inside your testes, to get ejaculated, they need to be transported in a delicate set of tubes, but before it is ejaculated, the sperm mixes with semen. A problem in any of these areas can lead to a low sperm count. It could also be attributed to abnormal sperm shape or movement, but a lot of the time, the exact cause is never determined.
There are also many medical issues that can cause low sperm counts. Among them would be varicocele which occurs when there is swelling in the veins that drain your testicles. When this occurs, it leads to a reduced sperm count and fewer moving sperm. Other medical issues include infection like sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, gonorrhea and others), ejaculation problems, tumors, undescended testes which occurs during your development as a fetus, sperm duct defects, chromosome defects, antibodies that attack sperm, hormone imbalances, celiac disease and even some medications.
Other possible causes include environmental factors like radiation, overheating of testicles and industrial chemicals and health and lifestyle causes like illegal drug use, tobacco smoking and chew, alcohol consumption, weight and stress.