One of the common problems of couples is infertility. Of every seven couples, a couple is not able to fertilize naturally without treatment. The term infertility refers to at least one year try to conceive a child and fail. Infertility in men can be because of low sperm production or abnormal sperm function. Diseases, physical injuries and health problems, lifestyle choices, and other factors can also cause infertility in men. Although infertility can be anxious and distressing, there are several ways to treat it.
Symptoms of male infertility
The main symptom of infertility in men is the inability to conceive.
Other symptoms usually do not appear, but in some cases, genetic disorders, hormonal problems, or a problem that blocks the sperm passage can cause symptoms
Symptoms such as:
- Problems with sexual function like ejaculation problems or low fluid volume or decreased sexual desire
- Pain or swelling in testicles
- Decreased sense of smell
- Abnormal breast enlargement
- Frequent respiratory infections,
- Decreased facial or body hair or other symptoms of chromosomal or hormonal problems
- Decreased sperm count (less than15 million sperm per millimeter or reduced total sperm count per ejaculation less than 39 million)
Cause of male infertility
Infertility problems in men can be due to a problem in the individual’s general health or some medical treatment that has already occurred.
Varicocele is the most common cause of infertility in men. Although it is not clear exactly how varicocele causes infertility in men, it may be a problem with blood flow. Varicocele reduces the number and quality of sperm.
Antibodies that attack sperm
Anti-sperm antibodies are cells of the immune system that mistakenly consider sperm as an external agent and try to remove sperm.
Some infections can interfere with sperm production or sperm health or cause sores that block sperm from passing through.
These include inflammation of the epididymis or testicles and some sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhea or HIV.
Although some infections can lead to permanent testicular damage, they are often treatable and sperm can be recovered.
Retrograde ejaculation occurs when sperm enters the bladder during orgasm instead of coming out of the penis.
Different conditions can cause retrograde ejaculation. These include diabetes, spinal cord injuries, medications and surgery on the bladder, prostate or urethra.
Non-malignant cancers and tumors can directly affect the male reproductive organs through the glands that release reproductive hormones, such as the pituitary gland, or for unknown reasons. In some cases, surgery, radiation or chemotherapy to treat tumors can also affect male fertility.
Infertility can be the result of testicular disorders or hormonal imbalances due to poor function of the hypothalamus, thyroid or lymph nodes.
Inadequate testosterone secretion is one of the most obvious hormonal imbalances that can lead to infertility.
Testosterone replacement therapy, long-term use of anabolic steroids, cancer drugs (chemotherapy), some treatments, some osteoarthritis drugs and some other drugs can interfere with sperm production and reduce male fertility.
If you have had any surgery in the past, it may prevent sperm from ejaculating in the short or long term.
Operations such as vasectomy, testicular surgery, prostate surgery, and major abdominal surgeries performed for testicular and anal cancers may have this effect.
Defects of tubules
Different tubes in the body are responsible for transporting sperm. They may be blocked for various reasons.
These include unwanted surgery damage, previous infections, trauma or abnormal growth such as cystic fibrosis or similar inherited conditions.
During fetal development, some men do not insert one or both testicles from the abdomen into the sac, which normally contains the testicles. Men with the disease are more likely to have fertility problems.
Hereditary disorders such as Klinefelter’s syndrome, in which a person is born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome instead of one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, can cause problems with the male reproductive system.
Other genetic problems associated with infertility include cystic fibrosis or Kalman syndrome.
Celiac is an inherited, digest disease. In this disease, a person becomes allergic to a protein called gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye.
This disease can lead to infertility in men. By adopting a gluten-free diet, the problem of infertility is partially solved.
Exposure to environmental factors such as heat, toxins and chemicals can affect fertility in men. These factors can reduce quality or quantity of sperm. The main reasons are:
If a person is exposed to certain chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents and painting materials for a long time, these may reduce the number of sperm.
Radiation exposure can reduce sperm production. It is to be noted this condition is usually temporary and returns to normal after a while.
If a person is exposed to high doses of radiation, sperm production can be reduced forever.
Exposure to heavy metals
Exposure to lead or other heavy metals may cause infertility in men.
Overheating the testicle
An increase in temperature may impair sperm production and function. Although studies in this topic have been limited and cannot be definitively cited, repeated use of a sauna or hot tub can temporarily reduce sperm count.
Sitting for long hours, wearing tight clothing, or working long hours with a computer or laptop may increase testicular temperature and slightly reduce sperm production.
Treatment of male infertility
It is often difficult to determine the exact cause of infertility. But even if the exact cause is not known, the doctor can prescribe treatments that lead to fertilization.
In cases of infertility, it is recommended to check the partner as well. There may be special treatments for her to increase her chances of having a baby.
In addition, in the treatment process in which both people are examined, you will find out which treatment method is right for your condition.
Treatments for male infertility include the following:
Varicocele can often be cured with surgery. Previous vasectomies are reversible. In cases where ejaculation does not involve any sperm, sperm can often be obtained directly from the testicle or epididymis using sperm recovery techniques.
Treatment of infections
In cases where infertility is the cause of the infection, antibiotic treatment may cure the infection of the reproductive system.
Of course, this method does not always solve the problem of infertility and usually requires more treatments.
Treatment of having a problem with intercourse
Medication or counseling can help improve fertility in conditions such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation
Hormonal treatments and drugs
Your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy or medication in cases where infertility is caused by high or low levels of certain hormones or problems with hormone use in the body.
Assisted reproductive technology(ART)
Assisted reproductive technology means receiving sperm naturally or in the laboratory or using a donor’s sperm.
This type of treatment is based on your medical records and your needs.
After the extraction, the sperm enters the female reproductive organ or is used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
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