Causes of Male Infertility

Causes of Male Infertility

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Of the approximately one-third of couples trying to conceive, the problem lies with the male partner. While this can be discouraging and even heart-breaking for couples looking to start or expand a family, there is no reason to lose hope – many of the causes of male infertility can be addressed with treatment. If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, here are some factors that may be affecting the male. If you believe the reason is something you can manage, make the change. If you think it’s time to seek medical attention, then it’s time to visit your urologist.

Environmental Factors

Exposure to external elements can affect sperm production and function. Some of these factors include:

  • Excessive Heat. The elevated temperatures from hot tubs, saunas, or laptops can lower your sperm count. Fortunately, when it comes to heat, the effects are often temporary and can be reversed.
  • Radiation.  While getting an X-ray now and then may temporarily influence sperm production, long-term problems may arise if you are exposed to high and dangerous levels of radiation for excessive periods of time.
  • Metals and Chemicals. Exposure to heavy metals, pesticides, and industrial chemicals can affect both your total health, and that of your reproductive organs.  For this reason, those who work in manufacturing, construction, mining, and even agriculture are more at risk and should take protective precautions.

Lifestyle Choices

Some habits can also affect our chances of starting a family; they include –

  • Smoking. Not only does smoking cause lung and heart disease, but it can also disrupt sperm production.
  • Excessive Alcohol. Although a drink now and again isn’t bad, too much alcohol can lower testosterone, the hormone partially responsible for sperm count and libido. Low T-levels may cause erectile dysfunction. Alcohol can also impact liver function, which can impede sperm production.
  • Mental Health. Severe stress, anxiety and depression can cause irregular hormone levels. These hormones can, in turn, cause you to have a lower sperm count.

Medical and Sexual Issues

Your health can also be the reason for fertility problems. These issues may be –

  • Disease and Illness. Certain illnesses, like cancer and STDs, can affect sperm production, health, or passage. Some men’s immune systems actually attack their own sperm, preventing them from functioning normally. Low hormone levels may prevent the production of sperm; likewise certain medical conditions, diseases and medications may affect sperm production and function. Often once treatment has concluded, sperm counts can be back to normal. If not, seek urological care.
  • Varicocele. Doctors refer to swollen veins in the testicular area as varicoceles. Similar to a varicose vein, this issue can become a problem for sperm health. Varicoceles are reversible, meaning there’s still hope for you to start a family.
  • Problems with Sexual IntercourseErectile dysfunction to include premature or delayd ejaculation and even psychological issues can hinder your chances of conceiving. Retrograde ejaculation, also known as dry orgasm, occurs when semen enters the bladder during ejaculation rather than being ejaculated out the penis. While not a harmful condition, it renders the sperm that are ejaculated moot in the effort to conceive.  Searching for possible treatment and therapies can increase your chances of improving your fertility.

A Urologist Can Help

If you have been trying to conceive but have not been successful, perhaps it’s time to see a urologist.  Your urologist will work with you to determine why you have been having trouble conceiving. Expect a full medical history and battery of diagnostic tests, which may include a semen analysis, MRI or ultrasound, hormone and/or genetic testing, and/or testicular biopsy. If the problem requires seeing a specialist, your urologist will complement your medical team every step of the way. If the problem is specially a urological concern, your urologist may recommend surgical options to reverse or repair any damage. If a vasovasostomy requires reversal, your urologist will discuss that with you too.

Treating Male Infertility in Phoenix

In greater Phoenix, the most trusted urologist is Ironwood Urology’s Dr. Desiderio (Desi) Avila. Dr. Avila is a board-certified urologist who is committed to treating your urological issues – to include infertility. If you live in the greater Phoenix area and want to start or expand your family, contact Ironwood Urology today at (480) 961-2323 or request an appointment online.