Most of the time, people misunderstand and link infertility to only females, but even men can also be affected with infertility. Male infertility is characterized by any health issue in a man that lowers the chances of his partner getting pregnant. About one-third of diagnosed infertility cases are due to problems with men.
It is advised not to ignore the condition and look out for the signs of infertility that include: Lack of sexual desire, pain or swelling in testicle area, erectile dysfunction, small or firm testicles and a problem with ejaculation. In most cases, there might be no noticeable symptom other than the inability to conceive a child.
The factors that put men at higher risk of developing infertility include:
Age - With the increase of age the testosterone levels begin to decline in males
Weight - It is ideal to maintain a healthy body mass index. In the case of obesity, the high insulin levels might interfere with the testosterone levels.
Alcohol & Smoking - These two habits drastically decrease sperm count and quality.
Stress -Stress and infertility are inversely proportional
Apart from the above, other factors include lifestyle, environmental factors, heat exposure.
The most common causes of male infertility are:
Sperm Disorders - Low sperm count, less sperm mobility, sperm defect, and absence of the sperm are the problems associated with the sperm.These account to the highest contributors of infertility in men.
Varicocele - It is a condition that causes swelling in the veins of the scrotum. It affects sperm growth as there is excessive heat which affects the spermatogenesis .
Retrograde Ejaculation - It is a condition in which the semen goes backward into the bladder instead of ejaculating out.
Hormonal Imbalance - Any hormonal imbalance can affect the sperm count.
Infertility related to Immunity - Sometimes men's own body makes antibodies that destroy their sperm
Other causes that contribute to infertility are medications, tubal blockage that transports the sperm, chromosomal abnormality, tumors, and other environmental factors.
The diagnosis usually starts with physical examination and history taking, followed by other tests that include: semen analysis, hormone testing, testicular biopsy, genetic testing, and imaging.
There are both surgical and non-surgical options available to treat the conditions based on the underlying cause and period of infertility.Authored By : DR RUCHI MALHOTRA, DGO DNB - Obstetrics & Gynecology