Not many people realize it, but male infertility is as common as female infertility is. Unfortunately, even today in India, when a couple can’t get pregnant, it’s just assumed that the woman is at “fault” and that the problem lies with her. People (even the couple themselves), rarely ever take into consideration the fact that the man may be infertile.
There are a number of factors that cause male infertility- and these range from psychological issues to physical ones and a number of other things too. It’s commonly believed that fertility is a reflection of the overall health of the man, which is a fallacy. Even otherwise physically healthy men can be infertile.
The four categories
Typically, the factors that cause male infertility can be divided into 4 broad categories:
#1. Lifestyle Choices- It’s a proven fact that a number of male infertility cases are caused by poor lifestyle choices such as:
- Chronic alcohol abuse
- Use of drugs such as marijuana can significantly decrease sperm counts
- Overuse of anabolic steroids
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals
- Inadequate nutrition
- Exposure to radiation
If it is diagnosed that the person’s infertility is related to any of these, it’s possible to modify and work on these behaviors and improve fertility.
#2. Hormonal Problems
Not many male infertility cases are directly caused by hormonal problems. This is an important factor because most of these can be easily treated. The different causes include:
- Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism
#3. Medical Problems
There are a few different medical problems that can cause male infertility, such as:
- Damaged sperm ducts (vas & the epidisymis); these result in obstructive azoospermia as the sperm get blocked
- Torsion of the testes; this causes testicular damage
- Male reproductive tract infections; these can cause low sperm count as well as low motility. Men would also have higher FSH levels; it’s an indication that can result in the arrest of the infertility
- Genetic problems such asKlinefelter’s Syndrome
#4. Sexual Problems
Male infertility may also be caused due to sexual issues. These affect male infertility as the sperm doesn’t get deposited in the vagina. They include:
- Premature ejaculation
- Delayed ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction ( impotence)
Though some of these sexual conditions may be rectified with medication and behavioral therapy, for most men, these issues are best treated with medical interventions such as IVF or IUI.
There are a number of factors that cause male infertility-this range from psychological issues to physical ones and a number of other things too. Most of these are treatable, but some require assisted reproductive technology for treatment.
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