Characteristics of male infertility

This article was endorsed by Iolanda Miró i Vinaixa - Doctor of Medicine and Surgery

Masculine infertility

What is male infertility?

man stress
It is recommended to avoid stress and tension

Male infertility is defined as the inability of a man to impregnate a woman after trying for at least one year taking into account ovulation periods, as well as a man’s inability to have offspring.

About 35% of couples infertility cases are due to male infertility.

Male infertility clinic

The main clinical manifestation of male infertility is the inability to conceive a child, although there may be other signs and symptoms such as decreased facial or body hair, problems with sexual function, lower than normal sperm count, etc.

Causes of male infertility

The causes that can lead to male infertility are many, and can be divided into:

  • Medical causes (eg, obesity, impotence, ejaculation problems, undescended testicles, varicocele, infections, certain drugs, etc.)
  • Environmental causes (excessive testicular heat, heavy metals, chemicals …)
  • Lifestyle-related causes (alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or stress)

Endocrine disruptors, also known as obesogens, deserve a special mention, since they favor obesity, substances present in the environment that cause reproductive problems (such as infertility or polycystic ovarian syndrome), thyroid problems and increased risk of breast and prostate cancer .

It is not at all complicated to know where these chemicals that alter hormonal cycles are and avoid them, because many times their exposure is totally optional.

* More information about causes of male infertility

spoiled teflon pan
Drawing of spoiled Teflon pan. Cooking in this utensil causes the ingested food to have substances with an undesirable hormonal effect.

Diagnosis of male infertility

For any member of a couple to be able to assume that they are sterile, a period of at least one year must elapse during which unprotected and well-synchronized relationships have been maintained with the most fertile days of the woman.

After this period of time, it could be convenient for the affected man, like the woman, to undergo medical studies to diagnose possible infertility.

The doctor, in addition to the corresponding general and genital physical examinations, may request other tests such as a blood and urine analysis or a spermogram. This last test will allow checking, among other parameters, the richness, morphology and mobility of the sperm.

Male infertility treatment

General health treatments

In the first place, it is tried that both members of the couple present a good physical, mental and emotional health. It is convenient for both men and women to report any possible problems to the doctor to treat it properly.

The psychic health of both members is very important. They should avoid stress or nervousness, trying to avoid any tension that may generate the “obligation” of a pregnancy.

The general health and reproductive capacity of the couple depends largely on the diet. Proper nutrition can promote fertility.

Having frequent and pleasant sexual relations will promote fertility. Infertility rates have been found to be higher in couples with few sexual relations.

In this sense, it is very important that sexual relations take place on the days when the woman is fertile, that is, when ovulation has occurred. The rhythm or calendar method (monitoring the menstrual cycle), the cervical mucus or the measurement of the basal temperature can help to know when the conditions are the most favorable. Currently, there are very practical mobile applications to control it.

The issue of fertile days should be avoided from producing an effect contrary to the desired one, by adding more tension to conceive, which could be counterproductive.

Specific treatments for male fertility

Sometimes the problems that lead to male infertility are more serious and require more specific treatments. For example:

  • In case of varicocele, a surgical intervention can be carried out that can solve the problem in 25% of cases.
  • In the case of testicles that have not lowered enough into the scrotum (cryptorchidism), an operation should be performed to remove the affected testicle because it can develop testicular cancer. The other testicle can be potentiated, if not affected, to achieve fertility.
  • Surgical procedures can solve other obstructive problems, such as clogged vas deferens, or other malformation problems such as hypospadias.
  • In case of infections, anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics will be administered.
  • If the lack of sperm is due to a hormonal problem, it can be solved by means of hormones or medications that stimulate the creation of sperm. Together, it is recommended to avoid all hormonal disruptors in food and home.

In any case, when the above treatments fail, the couple should know that they have other reproductive methods, such as artificial insemination or artificial reproduction.

punto rojo More information on infertility

Editorial
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

17 July, 2020

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