Male Infertility: Causes, Symptoms, And Diagnosis

The diagnosis of infertility is usually a great shock for the affected person and the partner. It is known that an unhealthy lifestyle can cause infertility. Thus, women and men who consume a large number of drugs, nicotine, and alcohol have difficulties in fulfilling their desire to have children. In fact, there are also many cases where infertility is genetic or caused by disease. Due to this, there are different causes that trigger infertility in women and men.

Problems with ovulation or even high testosterone levels can cause a woman to be unable to have children. Here you can learn more about the causes and diagnosis of female infertility. Contrary to the prejudice, infertility does not fail in most cases due to the infertility of the woman. Just as often, the male part is not infertile.

When Is Infertility Suspected?

If the pregnancy test remains negative after a year of unprotected sex, it is time to get checked out by a doctor. Both sex partners or relationship partners should see a doctor. It is true that there are some symptoms that indicate infertility: However, this can only really be determined through a variety of examinations. Sometimes stress, tension, or disturbed sexuality are the factors that stand in the way of the desire to have children.

What Leads To Male Infertility?

In addition to an unhealthy lifestyle or harmful environmental influences, such as pollutants and pesticides, which can lead to infertility in both men and women, there are a variety of physical causes. These are gender-specific. Here we explain which factors can lead to infertility in men. To do this, we first need to look at what makes a man fertile in the first place…

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Conditions For Male Fertility

Most of the time, the answer lies with the sperm: The quality, number, and speed of the sperm are ultimately crucial in conceiving a child. The prerequisite for being able to conceive is that one milliliter of sperm fluid (ejaculate) contains about 20 million sperm cells. Of these, 30% of the cells should be normally shaped and at least 50% should be highly motile. However, this is not the end of the story: If there is enough sperm of good quality, it also needs a free transport path. As a rule, ejaculation enables transport from the testicles via the epididymis as well as the vas deferens and finally to the outside.

Poor Sperm Quality Is The Most Common Reason For Male Infertility

In most cases, sperm quality is the factor that causes the desire to have a child to fail. Thus, it may be that there are too slow or too many malformed sperm cells. Of course, the number also plays a role. Frequently, too few sperm are present in men who are unable to conceive. In some cases, even all three causes meet so. Doctors call this the OAT syndrome (oligo astheno teratozoospermia).

Why does it matter how many sperm are present? When there are too few sperm cells in the ejaculate, this disrupts sperm production or transport.

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Sterility can also develop over time, as it does in women. The older the man gets, the more the sperm count and speed decreases. However, age plays a role in infertility from an earlier age, more precisely from 30 years. Learn more about this here.

Too Few Sperm Are Produced

Sperm production depends on the testicular tissue. Fertile sperm can therefore only be produced if the testicular tissue is working properly. This may already be damaged at birth. In addition, the testicles can be damaged during childhood. Both lead to the infertility of the man.

Causes of damage to the testicles can be due to infections, such as mumps disease or chlamydia. Tumor diseases, such as testicular cancer, and chemotherapy can also be the reason. In addition, certain operations, for example on the prostate, or injuries, such as testicular torsion, pose a risk of infertility.

In turn, undescended testicles are an example of a congenital malformation. In addition, a man may have a hormone deficiency and this may be the cause of his infertility. This occurs when too little male hormone (testosterone) is secreted. The culprit is an under activity of the testicles.

In other cases, a man’s inability to conceive is genetic. One example is Klinefelter syndrome. In this case, the man has too little testosterone but 2 X chromosomes.

How can you protect your testicles? Of course, there is nothing you can do against genetic and congenital damage to the testicles. However, you can otherwise protect your testicles by not exposing them to high temperatures for long periods of time. Permanently overheated testicles will be damaged more quickly. Due to the high temperature, the amount of sperm decreases. Reasons for the rising temperature of testicles can be circulatory disorders, varicose veins, undescended testicles, but also various sports or permanent work at a temperature above 32 degrees.

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Adhesive Or Severed Vas Deferens

We have already mentioned that the transport route has an effect on the fertility of the man. If the vas deferens is blocked or severed, it is disturbed and prevents the sperm from arriving. Doctors refer to this as “obstructive azoospermia”. Reasons for this phenomenon can also be congenital malformations, operations, or infections. In addition, the vas deferens can be damaged in case of inflammation of the testicles, epididymis, and prostate or urethral stenosis. Cystic fibrosis, a congenital metabolic disease, can also cause problems with the transport pathway.

From Tension To Anabolic Steroid Use -Other Reasons For Male Infertility

Overall, there are a variety of reasons that can lead to male infertility. For example, the use of anabolic steroids in bodybuilding can also lead to infertility. The psyche also affects the ability to conceive. In men, stress, pressure, and tension can negatively affect libido and sperm quality.

In addition, there are other physical causes. For example, erectile dysfunction or inadequate urinary bladder obstruction can stand in the way of the desire to have children. The latter means that ejaculation ends up in the urine. This phenomenon sometimes occurs as a result of surgery, diabetes, nerve damage, or an enlarged prostate. In addition, it is possible that antibodies are developed against the patient’s own sperm. Then it is called immunological infertility.

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Symptoms Of Infertility

Physically, infertility is hardly noticeable in men. Therefore, only a urologist can make a serious diagnosis. However, there are a few signs that should be noticed, especially if the desire to have children has not been fulfilled for a long time. These include sudden swelling of the testicles or an unexplained increase or decrease in weight. If there is pain during urination or discharge from the penis, this indicates an infection. This can affect the fertility of the man.

Diagnosis Of Infertility: How Does It Work?

The contact person for male infertility is the urologist. In order to clearly identify male infertility, some examinations are necessary. These include an ultrasound of the testicle, the preparation of a spermiogram (ejaculate examination), a testicular biopsy and a blood test. Of course, the examination of the genital organs and the assessment of body hair are also part of it.

If the diagnosis of infertility comes, it is usually a great shock. It can also be a serious blow to a relationship. It is important to talk about it together and show understanding. Once you have come to terms with the diagnosis, you can find out about other options. Adoption, for example, is one way to fulfill your desire to have a child. Learn more about adoption here.

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