Causes of male infertility
The commonest reason, is a low sperm count, which can be attributed to various causes;
- Idiopathic i.e., when the exact cause is not known.
- Varicocele – It is a swollen varicose vein in the scrotum, most commonly on the left side. Blood accumulated in the swollen testicular veins leads to increased temperature in the testis & damages sperm production.
It can be diagnosed in any public health center, by asking the patient to stand erect and cough . The cord like structure from which the testis hangs i.e., the spermatic cord, feels like a “bunch of worms”, on palpation.
- Duct blockage – Infection like gonorrohea, TB, filariasis; on surgery for hernia/hydrocele done at some health department or private health care center may lead to blockage of the passage between the testes and the penis. In this case sperms will be absent from the semen (azoospermia).
- Hormonal imbalance – Hormonal imbalance due to pituitary or adrenal gland can lead to infertility.
- Substance Abuse – Excessive intake of alcohol and/or drugs leads to decrease in liver function and increase in levels of the hormone Estrogen which in turn suppresses sperm production.
- Testicular factors – like twisting of testis leading to compromised blood supply; undescended testes when the testes lie in the abdomen; and damage due to exercise or heat can decrease sperm production. Testes lie outside the body in the scortum because they can produce sperms in a cooler environment. So clothes like tight jeans, nylon briefs, and hot baths/saunas, lead to damage to sperm production.
Remedies to enhance infertility
- Smoking & excessive alcohol intake is associated with low sperm counts. These habits should be discontinued.
- Stop using drugs such as body-building steroids & illicit drugs.
- Most importantly the frequency of intercourse should be increased, so that chances of conception increase.
- Men should wear loose fitting underwear and cool clothes and avoid high temperature baths like saunas etc.
- It is advisable that when the couple is planning pregnancy, intercourse is done in a proper position and using proper technique.
- Lubricants such petroleum jelly etc. should be avoided. A proper counseling should be taken from a nearby public health center prior to conception.