Male Infertility

What is Male Infertility?

Male infertility is a condition which is caused due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm because of which the couple isn’t able to conc...

Symptoms

The symptoms of male infertility include:

  • Difficulties while ejaculating
  • Decreased amount of fluid ejaculated
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Problems in developing or maintaining a firm erection
  • Pain or swelling below the penis
  • Respiratory infections
  • Abnormal breast growth
  • Reduced facial or body hair
  • Lower than normal sperm count

Causes

The causes of male infertility include:

  • Varicocele: Varicocele is an inflammation in the veins that are responsible for emptying the testicles. Varicocele degrades the sperm quality.
  • Infections: Infections like inflammation of the epididymis or testicles and some sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhea or HIV may result in male infertility.
  • Retrograde: Retrograde ejaculation occurs when the semen enters the bladder during orgasm instead of emerging out the tip of the penis. The condition is caused due to diabetes, spinal injuries, medications, and surgery of the bladder, prostate or urethra.
  • Cancerous tumours: Certain cancers and tumors result in male infertility by harming the reproductive glands like the pituitary gland. In some cases, treatments for cancer like surgery, radiation or chemotherapy may also lead to male infertility.
  • Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal disorders associated with the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid or adrenal glands may cause male infertility.
  • Issues in the transport system: The tubes which are responsible for carrying the sperms from the testicles to the penis may get blocked due to injury from surgery, prior infections, trauma or abnormal development which may also lead to infertility.
  • Chromosome defects: Genetic disorders such as Klinefelter's syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Kallmann's syndrome and Kartagener's syndrome may cause abnormal development of the male reproductive organs leading to infertility.
  • Testosterone replacement therapy, extended anabolic steroid use, chemotherapy, antifungal medications, some ulcer drugs and certain other medications can decrease sperm production and lead to infertility.
  • Drug abuse, alcohol intake, obesity and emotional stress may also cause infertility in men.

Risks

 The following factors may increase the risk of male infertility:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Drug abuse
  • Obesity
  • Infections
  • Exposure to harmful radiations and toxins
  • Injury or trauma to the testicles
  • Vasectomy
  • Any major abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • Undescended testicles
  • Chemotherapy

Prevention

Male infertility can be prevented by:

  • Quitting tobacco, alcohol and drugs
  • Controlling body weight
  • Reducing stress.
  • Avoiding exposure to pesticides, heavy metals and other harmful toxins.

How is it diagnosed?

Male infertility can be diagnosed using the following tests:

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How is it treated?

In most cases, the exact cause of male infertility isn’t identified. Some treatments for male infertility include:

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  • Surgery

    Surgery helps in correcting a varicocele or removing blockages, reversing vasectomies, retrieving the sperm directly from the testicles or epididymis using sperm retrieval techniques.

  • Psychological counseling

    Counseling can help treat male infertility in cases with erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation.

  • Hormonal treatment

    The doctor opts for hormonal treatment in cases where infertility is caused by hormonal disorders of the reproductive glands which result in high or low levels of certain hormones.

  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART)

    In ART treatments, the sperms may be obtained through normal ejaculation, surgical extraction or from donor individuals and then inserted into the female genital tract, or used to perform in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

When do I contact the doctor?

One should contact a doctor if one is unable to conceive a child after a year of frequent, unprotected sex or if one experiences any symptoms and signs of male infertility.

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How does Medanta provide care?

Medanta ensures expert care for its patients who are diagnosed with infertility at the Institute of Kidney and Urology. The institute is a unique resource for patients who are suffering from any disorder associated with the urinary system, includi..

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