Author Name: Dr. Navina Singh || Mentor Name: Dr. Satish Londhe on April 25, 2020

Oligospermia means when the sperm numbers in am ejaculate semen sample collected after an orgasm is less than normal (normal sperm count is >15 million sperms per milliliter of semen)

The sperm count is considered low when it is less than 15 million sperms per milliliter of semen .We can divide this in 3 categories to understand it better when it comes to treatment for this condition.

-> 10 million sperms/ml – 15 million sperms /ml of semen —–MILD OLIGOSPERMIA
-> 5 million sperms/ml -10 million sperms /ml of semen —- MODERATE OLIGOSPERMIA
-> Less than 5 million sperms /ml of semen —-SEVERE OLIGOSPERMIA

SYMPTOMS

The only symptom with which a male will come is inability to conceive , other than this there can many underlying conditions which can result in low sperm count .So, males who has –
1) Problems associated with sexual function like erectile dysfunction (difficulty in maintaining the erection)
2) Swelling , lump or pain in the testicular area
3) Less body and /or facial hair

CAUSES

Sperms are produce in the testicles and production of sperms requires normal functioning of testicles ,hypothalamus and pituitary glands in our brain. After their production in the testes they travel from testes through various tubes/pipe like structure were they mix with the semen and finally ejaculated out of the penis.

A) MEDICAL CAUSES

1) Infection – Sperm production and quality can get affected by certain infections resulting in the inflammation of epididymis or testicles . This results in scarring and also block the passage of sperms.
Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or HIV can also cause inflammation .

2) Varicocele – when swelling occurs in the veins , draining the blood from testicles which can result in abnormal temperature regulation in testicles . Its most common reversible cause of infertility .

3) Ejaculation Disturbances – backward flow of semen into bladder instead of coming out from penis called as Retrograde ejaculation or no ejaculation. Diabetes ,spinal injuries and surgery of the bladder , prostate or urethra are some common causes for the ejaculation disturbances

4) Hormone Imbalance – normal functioning of the hypothalamus ,pituitary and testicles are necessary for the production of hormones required to create sperm

5) Undescended testicles – Failure of both or one testicles to descend from the abdomen into the sac that contains testicles (scrotum) during fetal development stage .

6) Antibodies – In immune system antibodies are formed called anti-sperm antibodies , which destroy own sperms mistakenly .

7) Dysfunction of the transport system – From the production site ,many tubes carry sperm .Blockage or improper functioning of these tubes at any level can occur in various conditions like infection, trauma , injury from surgery or abnormal development in cases like cystic fibrosis .

8) Chromosomal defects- normally males are born with one X and one Y chromosome . Inherited disorders like Klinefelter’s syndrome ,male is born with two X chromosome and one Y chromosome leading to abnormal development of the male reproductive system .Other such genetic conditions with infertility are cystic fibrosis , Kallmann’s syndrome and Kartagener’s syndrome .

9) Celiac disease and other Tumors – Digestive system sensitivity to gluten is seen in Celiac disease .
Cancer or noncancerous tumors can directly affected the male reproductive system or any radiation ,chemotherapy or surgery can also affect the sperm quantity.

10) Prior surgeries and medications – Vasectomy, inguinal hernia repairs, scrotal or testicular surgeries ,prostate surgeries ,testicular and rectal cancer surgeries .Medications likes testosterone replacement therapy,cancer medications , long term steroid use. All these can impair sperm production .

B) ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES-

1) Increase testicular temperature – Conditions or activities which increases the scrotal temperature like frequent use of saunas , hot tubs ,sitting for longer periods , wearing tight clothing or working on laptop /computer for long time can result in impair sperm production .
2) Industrial Chemicals and Heavy metal – Exposure to pesticides, herbicides, painting materials , ,benzenes ,toluene and lead .
3) Exposure to Radiation/ X Ray

C) HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE –

1) Alcohol and Tobacco smoking – Alcohol consumption and smoking can lower sperm production .
2) Emotional stress and Depression – both hampers the production of sperm .
3) Occupation – welding workers and those associated with prolonged sitting like truck drivers .
4) Drug use – Cocaine , marijuana or consumption of anabolic steroids can lower the sperm count .
5) Sperm Testing period – Testing a sperm sample too soon after the last ejaculate or spillage of sample
while collection can also result in low sperm count in the semen sample .

TO PROTECT YOUR FERTILITY ONE SHOULD AVOID / IDENTIFY ALL KNOWN FACTORS THAT CAN AFFECT SPERM COUNT AND QUALITY. FOR DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT TO GET A HEALTHY PREGNANCY IN TIME ONE SHOULD VISIT A GOOD INFERTILITY CENTRE WITH ALL FACILITIES .

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