Author Name: Dr. Pramod M. Yerne || Mentor Name: Dr. Kishor Kawad on April 27, 2020
Sperm count is a crucial factor for male fertility. It is measured as number of sperms in millions per ml of semen sample.
As per WHO criteria, normal sperm concentration should be 15 millions /ml or more in any semen sample to achieve pregnancy. Other parameter includes – sperm motility, sperm morphology and semen volume.
If sperm concentration is less than 15 million/ml, it is called as oligospermia (low sperm count) and if no sperms are seen in semen sample, it is called as azoospermia.
Oligospermia is further classified into 3 classes-
1)Mild: Sperm concentration between 10 million/ml – 15
2)Moderate : Sperm concentration between 5 million/ml – 10 million/ml.
3)Severe : If sperm concentration < 5 million/ml.
Any couple with male partner having low sperm count, Diagnosis of oligospermia requires proper semen analysis test.
Low sperm count is one of the important causes of male infertility. It is found that one in every three cases of infertility is due to problems in the male partner. Hence it is important to diagnose and treat causes of low sperm count to achieve the pregnancy.
Now, let’s see what are the causes of low sperm count-
1)Stress: It is one of the most common causes of low sperm count. Any factor causing stress leads to excessive release of cortisol in the body for glucose production and survival. Human body is less concerned about reproduction during stress hence decreased production of sperms.
2)Alcohol: Excessive drinking of alcohol is injurious for sperm production. More than two drinks per day is considered harmful for men as per CDC criteria.
3)Excess weight & Obesity: Overweight & Obesity leads to less sexual desire and decrease in testosterone levels and sperm count, hence reduction in male fertility.
4)Smoking: Heavy smoking reduces process of spermatogenesis in testis. Several studies shown that smoking consistently reduces sperm counts.
5)Thermal factor: Increased temperature in the scrotum reduces the sperm production and maturation. Patient working in hot environment & industries have low sperm counts. Conditions like varicocele, hernia, hydrocele & filariasis lead to oligospermia.
6)Drugs: Prolonged intake of B-blockers, anti-hypertensives, antidepressants, antipsychotics, corticosteroids & anti-androgens, radiation exposure can lead to low sperm count and infertility.
7)Diseases: Many disorders are associated with oligospermia/azoospermia like thyroid dysfunction, hyperprolactinemia, genetic disorders, undescended testis, congenital absence of vas deference, Klienfelter syndrome, testicular failure, TB, mumps etc.
8)General Factors: Malnutrition, sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction etc.
Any couple with male partner having low sperm count – Immediately visit to Infertility clinic and talk to infertility expert. He can advise following things along with medications to improve sperm count. It is not as serious as you think. If you delay the treatment and not following proper advice, then you may require donor sperms to achieve pregnancy. You can do the following things to improve sperm count– exercise and lifestyle changes, healthy diet and food supplements, medications, surgical treatment and if needed ART.
1. Exercise and lifestyle changes-
-daily physical exercise for 20-30 min
-Meditation and yoga
-mind relaxation techniques
-weight reduction in overweight and obese persons
It improves testosterone level and sperm count.
2. Avoid – smoking and alcohol intake, avoid use of drugs like anabolic steroids that are used to stimulate muscle mass and growth that can reduce the testicles size affecting sperm production. Avoid radiation exposure.
3. Adequate Sleep: adequate sleep for 7 to 8 hours is important to maintain your health. Restricted or excessive sleep is linked to low sperm count.
4. Healthy diet: Healthy and balanced diet is a key to healthy body as well as healthy sperm. It should contain adequate amount of vit C, D, E, B-12 and folate, Zinc, calcium etc.
Zinc- containing food items- Oysters, red meat and poultry shellfish, such as crab and lobster, fortified breakfast, cereals, nuts and beans, whole wheat grain products.
Vit C rich foods – citrus fruits and their juices, sweet peppers, other fruits, such as kiwi, strawberries, amla etc.
Vit D rich foods – milk and dairy products, fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, yogurt, and other food products.
Vit E rich foods- plant-based oils, such as corn, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oils nuts and seeds.
Coenzyme Q 10 supplements – meats and poultry, especially beef and chicken, fish such as herring and trout ,plant-based oils, including soybean and canola oil nuts and seeds, especially peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pistachios.
D-aspartic acid – amino acid supplements: meats and poultry eggs and dairy products including low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt, grains such as oat bran, rice, and fortified pastas.
Omega-3 fatty acids supplements- fish and seafood, especially salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines, nuts and seeds, including chia seeds, flaxseed, and walnuts, plant-based oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oil.
Ashwagandha and Maca root- these are medicinal herbs which has been used since ancient times in India. They improve sperm count and male fertility by increasing testosterone levels, libido and sexual performance. One study showed that 5 gms of Ashwagandha root powder daily for three months significantly improved sperm count and semen quality.
5.Medications – medications are prescribed depending on the cause of low sperm count and other health conditions along with low sperm count. These medications includes –
Antioxidants – Vit C, Vit E, Co-Q, L-carnitine, L-Arginine
Antibiotics- levofloxacin, doxycycline, metronidazole
Anastrazole or letrozole
Hormone Treatments – A numbers of hormonal medications, injections can restore the hormones to a normal level, improving the sperm count as well. These include androgens, gonadotrophins like HCG, HMG, FSH etc.
6. Surgery- surgery is indicated if the cause is varicocele, hydrocoele, hernia or obstructed vas deference.
7. ART – Assisted Reproduction Techniques such as IUI, IVF, ICSI, TESA, PESA etc may help to achieve pregnancy if other treatment modality failed. You need to select a good fertility center and then talk to the fertility expert to explore the options available for you.
So there is so many treatment options available for man with low sperm count to increase his sperm count. That’s why if male has a abnormal semen report he must have treatment as soon as possible to become a father with his own sperm before its too late to have to take other’s sperm.
Talk to the best team of fertility experts in the country today for all your pregnancy and fertility-related queries.
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