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How to Prevent Infertility in Males?

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How to Prevent Infertility in Males?

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In half of the couples who cannot conceive, male infertility plays an important role. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At July 31, 2018
Reviewed AtJuly 26, 2023

Introduction

Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive even after frequent sexual intercourse. Male infertility is a common issue nowadays. Subfertility (reduced fertility) in males is on the rise. A number of environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and habits are adding to the biological factors responsible for rising cases of infertility. A percentage of infertility or subfertility can be obviated by avoiding certain habits, situations, and lifestyles. About 15 percent of all couples trying to get pregnant realize they have difficulty in conceiving, despite trying for several months or even years. Problems with the males account for 50 percent of all infertile cases.

What Is Male Infertility?

Infertility is a condition of the reproductive system. Male infertility makes a man incapable of impregnating a fertile female. If a couple has repeated unprotected sex for over a year and the female partner does not get pregnant, then she or the male partner or both of them may have infertility issues. Infertility is a common condition, with more than five million couples dealing with it in the United States. The inability to conceive can be annoying and stressful; nevertheless, many treatment options are available for male infertility.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Male Infertility?

The main sign of infertility in males is the inability to make a fertile female partner pregnant. In some cases, an underlying condition like hormonal imbalance, an inherited disorder, a condition that blocks the passage of sperm, or dilated veins around the testicle can present the associated signs and symptoms. These may include:

  • Issues with sexual functions include difficulty with ejaculation, reduced sexual desire, or erectile dysfunction (difficulty maintaining an erection).

  • Presence of swelling, pain, or a lump in the testicle area.

  • Repeated respiratory infections.

  • Inability to smell.

  • Decreased body and facial hair or other signs of a hormonal or chromosomal abnormality.

  • A lower than normal sperm count.

What Are the Main Causes of Male Infertility?

  • The most important male factor contributing to infertility is a problem with the quality of the semen. That is, some men have a low sperm count, some have sperms that do not swim actively and in a forward motion (sperm motility), while in some, the sperms may be in bad shape (sperm morphology).

  • There may be problems with the seminal fluid (too viscous, too acidic, and may have an absence or reduced quantities of certain enzymes). The seminal fluid may contain antibodies against its own spermatozoa and infective organisms, etc.

  • Another important male factor concerns sperm delivery. This means the inability to have successful vaginal intercourse, faulty coital technique, unfavorable coital position, incorrect timing, too low or too high frequency of intercourse, use of certain lubricants, etc.

  • Chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery to remove one or both testicles can impact male fertility.

  • Hormonal disorders that affect the hypothalamus and pituitary glands can impact male fertility.

  • Overexposure to some environmental substances like heavy metal exposure, radiation, industrial chemicals, or even exposure to elevated temperature may reduce sperm production.

Who Is More Likely to Have Male Infertility?

Some men are more likely to experience infertility if:

  • They are obese or overweight.

  • They are of age 40 or more.

  • They have been exposed to environmental toxins such as lead, pesticides, calcium, and mercury.

  • They have been exposed to radiation.

  • They are marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol abuser.

  • They have a history of undescended testicles.

  • They are on medications such as Flutamide, Cimetidine, Cyproterone, Spironolactone, Bicalutamide, or Ketoconazole.

  • They have a history of widened veins in the scrotum (varicoceles).

  • They have been around the heat that raises the temperature of the testes.

  • They have been exposed to testosterone. Some men need implants, injections, and topical gel for low testosterone.

When Should a Male See a Doctor for Infertility?

It is advised that a man should see a doctor if he is unable to conceive a child after one year of frequent, unprotected sexual intercourse or sooner if he has any of the following:

  • Pain, swelling, discomfort, or a lump in the testicle area.

  • Ejaculation or erection problems, low sex drive, or other sexual function issues.

  • A history of prostate, testicle, or sexual problems.

  • A testicle, groin, scrotum, or penis surgery.

  • A partner aged over 35 years.

How to Diagnose Male Infertility?

The diagnosis of infertility in men starts with a complete physical assessment to ascertain the general state of health and check any physical problems that can impact fertility. The doctor may also ask both partners about their sexual habits. To confirm the diagnosis, the following tests may be recommended:

  • Serum analysis determines sperm volume, pH, velocity, sperm concentration, total sperm count, linearity, morphology, viscosity, and color.

  • Semen biochemistry fructose test.

  • Sperm antibody tests.

  • Sperm DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) assessment.

  • Special staining for the azoospermic specimen.

  • Leukocytospermia quantitation.

How to Increase the Chances of Conception?

If a person leads a healthy lifestyle, he is more likely to produce healthy sperm. He should avoid lifestyle choices that can compromise his fertility.

  • Avoid smoking. It has serious effects on both sperm count and motility.

  • Avoid alcohol abuse. Habitual alcohol intake can damage semen quality.

  • Stop using recreational drugs. Marijuana and other recreational drugs could damage your fertility potential.

  • Stay away from steroids. Anabolic steroids cause testicular shrinkage and infertility.

  • Think twice about vigorous exercise. It is associated with an increase in a hormone called prolactin, which can diminish sperm production.

  • Avoid anything that increases scrotal temperature, such as tight underwear, hot sauna baths, etc.

  • Minimize exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides, lead, paint, radiation, radioactive substances, mercury, boron, benzene, etc.

  • Get tested for symptoms of malnutrition, anemia, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies and take treatment to rectify them.

  • Avoid high levels of physical and mental stress. Practice relaxation and breathing exercises to stay cool.

  • Making changes to one’s lifestyle, incorporating a nutritious diet, and stress-free functioning could greatly improve the chances of better quality semen.

General measures that can be taken for the prevention of infertility in males and females are:

  • Maintaining normal body weight.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol abuse.
  • Regular exercise, but avoid overexercising.
  • Avoid unprotected sex.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Do not delay to conceive if one is prepared to have kids.

Conclusion:

Male infertility implies that a male partner cannot contribute to natural conception due to infertility issues. Male infertility can occur due to several causes. But a male is more likely to be infertile if he has genital infections, experienced early or late puberty, or had an injury to his testicles. Male infertility is not always preventable, but some known causes of male infertility can be avoided.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Is It Possible to Treat Male Infertility?

Male infertility is not always permanent. In case of any underlying cause of infertility, if the causative agent is removed, then the male may regain fertility.

2.

What Makes a Man Infertile?

Some health conditions can make a male infertile, like cryptorchidism, genetic abnormality, diabetes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, mumps, or HIV. Other lifestyle risk factors for infertility are tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, overweight, toxin exposure, testicular trauma, or testicular overheating.

3.

How to Check Sperm Fertility?

A sperm fertility check can be done at a fertility laboratory where a semen sample is analyzed for the quantity, motility, quality, and capacity of the sperm to procreate.

4.

How to Determine the Fertility of a Man?

The fertility of sperm can be determined by various tests involving the testicle, which may be followed by laboratory analysis. The tests to determine any infertility-associated testicular abnormality are:
- Scrotal ultrasound.
- Transrectal ultrasound.
- Hormone analysis.
- Genetic tests.
- Testicular biopsy.
- Sperm function tests.

5.

At What Age Can a Man Turn Infertile?

According to a study, men may be at their peak of fertility between 30 and 35 years, after which there is a progressive decline in fertility. Men, typically, never stop producing sperm, but there is a measurable decline in fertility.

6.

What Is the Best Diet to Improve Sperm?

Including certain food in the diet can improve the quality of sperm like:
- Beef (rib-eye steak).
- Salmon, tuna, and sardine fish.
- Liver in meat diet.
- Oysters.
- Brazilian nuts and walnuts.
- Pork.
- Tomatoes.
- Garlic.
- Indian gooseberry.

7.

What Is the Method to Check Sperm Health?

The health of sperm can be determined by specialized sperm function tests where a sample of the semen is collected from the individual and is observed and tested for quality, motility, and morphology, which are the primary quirks of sperm quality assessment.

8.

What Is the Epidemiology of Infertility?

According to a survey, about one in six couples have reported infertility, and about 10 % of males in the US are infertile.

9.

What Can Be Done to Improve Sperm Fertility?

Lifestyle changes can improve sperm quality by avoiding the risk factors, treating any underlying health condition, correcting any scrotal or testicular abnormalities, and making dietary inclusion of sperm-friendly foods.

10.

What Is the Color of Healthy Sperm?

Typical healthy semen is clear, cloudy white, or greyish in color. Yellowing and redness of the semen are signs of pathology requiring medical evaluation. Some temporary changes in sperm color may be completely transient and harmless.

11.

Which Gender Is More Predilected to Infertility?

Infertility equally affects both sexes. In couples experiencing infertility, an equal 35 % is due to male or female factors, 20 % due to combined factors, while the rest, 10 %, remains unexplained.

12.

Which Category of Men Is Susceptible to Infertility?

Men with risky lifestyle choices, including occupational hazards, overweight, tobacco, alcohol, and drug usage, are prone to infertility. Other predisposing health conditions, with or without treatment, like ulcers, psoriasis, diabetes, depression, hypertension, scrotal abnormalities, or scrotal injuries, may make men susceptible to infertility.

13.

How Does Good Fertility Present As?

Good fertility in men can be determined by a medical and laboratory examination. If physical and ultrasound studies reveal no abnormality and laboratory studies reveal no deviation from the normal range in sperm quality, motility, and quantity, the individual is determined to be with good fertility.

14.

Why Is the Sperm Watery?

Watery sperm may indicate oligospermia (low sperm count) or inferior semen quality. The final diagnosis should be made by a healthcare professional with physical and diagnostic studies.

15.

In How Many Time Intervals Can a Man Release Sperm?

It is completely healthy for an individual to ejaculate less than three times a week. In contrast, the average ejaculation in men varies between two to seven times a week without any problem. So there is no clear evidence of the frequency of ejaculation to any health risk or infertility.
Dr. D. V. R. Poosha
Dr. D. V. R. Poosha

Sexology

Tags:

infertility
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