About 15% of couples are unable to conceive after a year of trying, and about 10% continue to struggle after two years. There are many different pieces to the fertility puzzle and infertility problems stem equally from three different places:
- One-third from female reproductive issues
- One-third from male reproductive issues
- One-third from both or for reasons unknown
As a specialist in men’s health, Dr. Mike Hsieh wants to focus on male infertility and some conditions that can contribute to the reproductive issue, including the seven below.
A quick word about male infertility
Before we get into seven conditions that can lead to male infertility, we want to review the direct causes of infertility in men, which often come down to a problem in one of these areas:
- Sperm production
- Sperm health
- Sperm shape
- Sperm movement
- Open passageways for the sperm
A malfunction in any one of these areas can lead to male infertility.
Now that we understand what’s needed from sperm for fertility, let’s take a look at seven conditions that can impair one of these areas and lead to infertility.
1. Trauma to your testes
If you injure your testes, this can impact sperm production or the trauma may affect how sperm exits your testes.
2. Pre-existing medical conditions
Certain medical conditions can impact your fertility, such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and some autoimmune disorders. For example, your body may produce antisperm antibodies that attack and destroy your own sperm. With cystic fibrosis, about 97% to 98% of men with the disease are infertile because they lack vas deferens, the tubes through which sperm pass.
3. Cancer treatments
Men undergoing cancer treatments, namely chemotherapy and radiation, often encounter fertility issues as the treatments damage sperm and sperm-producing cells.
4. Low testosterone
If your testosterone levels are low, the hormone imbalance can lead to a reduced production of sperm.
If you’re a smoker, you should know that studies such as this one show that this habit is associated with lower semen volume and reduced sperm count.
This is a condition in which veins in your scrotum are swollen, which can affect the shape and number of your sperm and lead to fertility issues as a result.
7. Sexual dysfunction
We’ve mainly focused our attention on problems with sperm quality and quantity, but your infertility may have nothing at all to do with your sperm, but rather your ability to deliver it. If you have a sexual dysfunction issue such as erectile dysfunction, you can’t get the sperm into your partner for fertilization.
This list is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many conditions that can influence male fertility. To get to the bottom of your fertility issues, it’s best to come see us for an evaluation.
To get started, please contact our office in La Jolla, California, today to schedule an appointment.