Oligospermia is one of infertility problems in males that is not new anymore. Infertility is not gender biased, both men and women can be infertile. In fact, infertility is a health problem faced by around 10-15% of couples worldwide during their childbearing age. In all infertility cases, about 30% of cases are due to a female factor and 30% are due to male factor infertility. Remaining 30% of infertility cases include the problem with both the partners and the rest 10% infertility cases are caused by unexplained infertility.
Dr. Poonam, Chief IVF And Infertility Specialist at Indira IVF Hospital, Explained that: “Low sperm count” is one of the major causes of infertility in men. Also known as Oligozoospermia Or Oligospermia, is a condition that indicates that your semen contains lesser sperms than the normal sperm count. Sperm counts refer to the number of sperms that are present in 1 ml of semen.
A normal semen sample contains 40 million to 300 million sperm per milliliter and a low sperm count is considered anything between 10 to 20 milliliters. This means that twenty million healthy sperms may be adequate for pregnancy to conceive.
As mentioned above oligospermia causes male infertility so it is important to understand the common oligospermia symptoms to diagnose it on time for effective oligospermia treatments.
Symptoms of Oligospermia
For some men there are no obvious oligospermia symptoms, this condition only comes across when they start finding out the reasons for not being able to conceive. But in some cases, one can notice some warning signs that indicate there are some issues with the male reproductive system. These common symptoms include:
Swollen and Enlarged vein in the scrotum
Pain, swelling or lumps in the testicle areas
Decreased facial and body hair or other signs indicating hormonal imbalances
Sexual functioning issues like the inability to maintain an erection or other ejaculatory issues.
Some also face pain while urinating, due to infections.
Diagnosis of oligospermia Oligospermia diagnosed by a semen analysis test. This test examines the sperm count and quality, motility, abnormal & normal morphology forms.
Causes of Oligospermia
Oligospermia Causes can be distributed into three major factors:
1.Medical Factors:a number of medical and health issues causes Oligospermia, including:
Varicocele – It is a condition where enlargement of veins within the loose bag of skin that holds testicles (scrotum). It is one of the most common low sperm count or oligospermia causes.
Infection – Virus infection can affect sperm production, quality, and quantity. Viruses causing infections such as sexually transmitted infections can reduce the sperm amount in semen.
Ejaculation issues- Ejaculation problems due to health issues like diabetes, surgery of the bladder, and spinal injuries, etc, cause retrograde ejaculation. This is an issue when enters the bladder instead of leaving from the tip of the penis.
Hormonal imbalance – The brain and the testicles produce several hormones that are responsible for ejaculation and sperm production. Any kind of imbalance in any of these hormones can low sperm count
Medications – medicines like beta-blockers, antibiotics, blood pressure etc cause ejaculation defects and low sperm count
2.Environmental Factors: Constant exposure to environment toxin and chemicals can affect sperm production.
Chemical exposure – Pesticides, cleaning agents and the chemicals used in the paint can reduce sperm count.
Metal exposure – In addition to chemicals, constant exposure to heavy metals such as lead can also cause oligospermia.
Radiation – Exposure to radiation or X-ray can reduce sperm production. Constant or high exposure to the radiation can also cause Azoospermia, meaning nil sperm.
Overheating testicles – Constant sitting, placing laptops over your genitals, hot water tubs and wearing tight clothing may all contribute to overheating. An increase in the temperature around the testicles affects sperm production and quality.
3.Lifestyle Factors: Your lifestyle plays an important role in overall health. Alcohol, smoking, obesity, etc are some widespread Oligospermia causes.
Drugs use – Anabolic steroid medicines that are used to stimulate muscle strength and growth can shrink the testicles affecting sperm production.
Consumption of Alcohol – Excess of drinking alcohol may reduce sperm counts and quality.
Smoking – Smoking is injurious to your sperms as well. Men who smoke have low sperm counts compared to the men who don’t smoke.
Weight problems – Being overweight or obese may increases your risk for low sperm counts in many ways. Excess body fat and low muscle mass keeps the testosterone level below the normal level resulting in poor quality of sperms.
Stress – Stress is one of the common oligospermia causes. It causes hormonal imbalance affecting sperm production.
Treatment of Oligospermia
Oligospermia treatment is essential to resolve the infertility issue in men. The treatment includes –
1. Surgery Oligospermia treatment will be surgery if the cause is Varicocele. In the surgery the doctor will close off the enlarged vein, redirecting the blood flow to another vein.
When the oligospermia causes include hormonal imbalance, infection or inflammation, etc. The treatment will include medications. The treatment prevents further sperm count drop, assisting treatment is also needed.
3. Lifestyle Changes
One of oligospermia treatment is working on the lifestyle factors affecting sperm production and count. The major lifestyle changes needed to tame Oligospermia includes:
Limiting the alcohol intake
Avoid high temperature
Avoid excessive consumption of medicines
Increase Vitamin and Calcium intake
Hormone Treatments A variety of hormonal medications, injections can restore the hormones to a normal level improving the sperm count as well.
Assistant Reproduction Techniques (ART)
Assistant Reproduction Techniques such as IVF or IUI may help you to embrace parenthood while dealing with Oligospermia. You need select a good fertility clinic first and then talk to the fertility expert to explore the options available for you.If you are trying to become a father but the pregnancy is not achieved naturally, it is suggested to both the partners to meet a fertility expert and get your fertility to check up done. If you are diagnosed with oligospermia, seeking help from a fertility expert as early as possible is the best option.
At Indira IVF and fertility center, our fertility experts are keen to help and resolve all your queries related infertility or IVF. You can book your appointment for a free consultation now.