Low Sperm Count: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Test


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health

General Health

11 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Low sex drive and hormonal abnormalities are low sperm count signs
  • Certain medications and some prior surgeries can lead to low sperm count
  • A sperm count test can help you identify this problem and address it

Oligospermia is a condition that occurs when you have low sperm count signs. The normal sperm count to get pregnant is 20-30 million sperm per milliliter of semen in case of healthy sperm. Anything lesser than that can be problematic. As a matter of fact, a sperm count of less than 15 million per milliliter of semen is considered lower than a normal sperm count. Besides the count, sperm motility is another important factor for pregnancy and experts suggest that at least 40-50% should be moving forward.

Although it requires only one sperm to fertilize an egg, a low sperm count decreases the odds of achieving pregnancy. Yet, many men with low sperm count are still able to father a child. To better understand the low sperm count signs, its major causes, and tips to increase it, read on. 

Low Sperm Count Signs

People often don’t find any low sperm count signs until they come to know about their infertility. However, it is better to consult a doctor if you experience the following signs and symptoms. 

  • Low sex drive 
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain, swelling, or lump in and around the testicles 
  • Less body or facial hair
  • Chromosome or hormone abnormality
how to increase sperm countAdditional read: Side Effects of Masturbation

Low Sperm Count Causes

The causes associated with low sperm count can be divided into three categories as below,

Medical Causes: 

  • Varicoceles or swelling in the veins that drain the testicles. 
  • Infections like sexually transmitted infections (STIs) causing blockage or damage to the reproductive system. 
  • Erection/ejaculation issues due to health conditions such as diabetes, spinal injuries, and bladder or prostate surgery.
  • Immune system disorders, which can sometimes affect sperm count.
  • Surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy to treat cancer can also lead to issues with sperm production.
  • Hormone imbalances, chromosome defects, and genetic syndromes such as cystic fibrosis, Kallmann’s syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome, and Kartagener’s syndrome can cause abnormalities in the male reproductive system.
  • Antifungal and antibiotic medicationscancer and some ulcer medications can affect fertility in males.
  • Certain surgeries such as testicular surgeries, prostate surgeries, bladder surgeries, vasectomy [3], and large abdominal surgeries can prevent sperm during ejaculation.
Medical Causes for low sperm count

Environmental Causes:

  • Overheating of testes due to frequent use of saunas or hot tubs is also a cause to be aware of. Working on a laptop or sitting for long and wearing tight clothes may also increase the temperature in your scrotum thereby affecting sperm production.
  • Exposure to herbicides, pesticides and other industrial chemicals such as benzenes, toluene, xylene, lead, painting materials, and organic solvents.
  • Being in proximity to radiation can also affect reproduction and may take years for sperm production to be normal.
  • Exposure to heavy metals like lead can cause infertility.

low sperm count test

Lifestyle Causes:

  • Steroids, drugs, and certain supplements can reduce the number and quality of sperm. Anabolic steroids cause a reduction in sperm production and shrinking of testicles. Similarly, marijuana and cocaine also affect sperm production. 
  • Long-term and severe emotional imbalances like stress and depression affect hormones responsible for sperm production. 
  • Being overweight or obese causes hormonal changes and impacts sperm. 
  • People who smoke tobacco and drink alcohol may have a lower sperm count than others. 
  • Occupations requiring prolonged sitting such as truck driving is associated with a risk of infertility.
  • Several issues during sperm analysis or sperm count test can result in a lower-than-normal sperm count. 


Low Sperm Count Diagnosis

A low sperm count is one of the main causes of male infertility. If you and your partner are trying to conceive, a low sperm count can be frustrating and discouraging.

There are a number of reasons why a man may have a low sperm count. It could be due to a health condition, such as diabetes or a hormonal imbalance. It could also be a side effect of a certain medicine for low sperm count. Finally, in some cases, low sperm count is simply a result of aging.

If you're concerned about your sperm count, the first step is to see a doctor. They can do a simple test to determine the number of sperm in your ejaculate. If the count is low, your doctor may recommend further testing to look for underlying causes of low sperm count.

There are several low sperm count treatment options available for men with low sperm counts. If a health condition is causing the problem, treating the condition may improve sperm production. If medications are to blame, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative. In some cases, fertility treatments may be necessary.

If you have a low sperm count, don't give up hope. There are ways to improve your chances of conceiving. With the right treatment, you and your partner can achieve your dream of starting a family.

Low Sperm Count Diagnosis Test

  1. Blood tests: They help to check for hormones and chromosomes
  2. Ultrasound: It is used to check your prostate and testicles
  3. Biopsy: It evaluated sperm production in the case of blockages

Treatment For Low Sperm Count


A vasectomy is a surgery to cut the tubes that carry sperm from your testicles. A vasectomy doesn't affect your hormones or your ability to have an erection or orgasm. You will still produce sperm, but it will be reabsorbed by your body. A vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception (birth control). If you want to have children later, you'll need to have a vasectomy reversal. A vasectomy is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy. The surgery is simple and usually takes less than 30 minutes. The risk of complications is low.


There are several medications that can be used to treat a low sperm count. These include

● Clomiphene citrate

● Gonadotropins

● Testosterone replacement therapy

Each option has its own pros and cons, so it's important to talk to your doctor about which is right for you. Clomiphene citrate, for example, can increase sperm production but can also cause side effects like hot flashes and mood swings. Conversely, gonadotropins are injections that can be expensive and may cause fertility problems down the road. Testosterone replacement therapy is another option, but it can also have side effects like acne and hair loss.


During counseling, you will work with a therapist to identify the factors that may be causing your low sperm count. You will also learn coping and stress-management techniques to help you deal with the condition. Counseling can help you understand your condition and make lifestyle changes that may improve your sperm count.

Hormonal treatments

Some of the most common hormonal treatments include clomiphene, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG). These treatments are often used in combination with other infertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Lifestyle modifications

There are a number of lifestyle modifications that can be made to help treat low sperm count. Quitting smoking, losing weight, and reducing stress are all great ways to improve sperm count. Additionally, men trying to start a family should avoid exposure to toxins and eat a healthy diet. By making these lifestyle changes, men can improve their sperm count and their chances of conceiving.

Alternative medicine

Alternative medicine, such as acupuncture and homeopathy, may be effective in treating low sperm count. A number of studies have shown that these alternative therapies can improve sperm quality and quantity. If you are considering using alternative medicine to treat your low sperm count, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that it is safe for you.

There are a number of treatments available that can help increase your sperm count.

Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking can help increase your sperm count. If you're overweight, losing weight can also help. Other lifestyle changes that can help include reducing stress and getting regular exercise.

Medical interventions for low sperm count include hormone therapy, surgery, and assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART includes a number of different procedures, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is a process in which eggs are fertilized outside the body and then transferred to the uterus.

If you're struggling with a low sperm count, there are treatments available that can help. While the causes of low sperm count can vary, there are medical interventions that can help increase your sperm count. These treatments range from lifestyle changes to medication and surgery. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

Home Remedies For Low Sperm Count

If you are looking to boost your sperm count, there are lifestyle changes and home remedies you can try.

First, check with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to your low sperm count. Once any medical issues have been ruled out, you can focus on lifestyle changes that may help.

There are a few key lifestyle changes that can help improve sperm count because lifestyle also can be areason for low sperm count. First, avoid heat exposure. This means keeping your groin area cool, avoiding hot tubs and saunas, and wearing loose-fitting underwear.

Second, quit smoking. Cigarette smoking has been linked to lower sperm counts. If you can't quit completely, try to cut back as much as possible.

Third, manage stress. Stress can lead to hormonal imbalances that can impact sperm count. Try to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.

In addition to lifestyle changes, a few home remedies may help improve sperm count. First, try taking boost reproductive health by taking a supplement that contains Co-enzyme Q10. This can be found in health food stores or online.

Fourth, eat a healthy diet. A diet that is rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can help improve sperm count.

Finally, get regular exercise. Exercise can help improve overall health, which can, in turn, improve sperm count.

If you are looking to boost your sperm count, lifestyle changes and home remedies can be a helpful first step. However, if your sperm count does not improve, be sure to check with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Relation Between Low Sperm Count and Infertility

Low sperm count and infertility are often seen as one and the same, but they are actually two separate issues. Low sperm count, or oligospermia, is a condition in which a man has fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. On the other hand, infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex. While a low sperm count can certainly cause infertility, it is not the only reason for less sperm countand why couples may struggle to conceive.

Several factors can contribute to a low sperm count, including medical conditions, lifestyle choices, and age. Medical conditions that can lead to oligospermia include infections, hormone imbalances, genetic disorders, and mumps. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use can also impact sperm count. And finally, age is a factor, as sperm production typically declines with age.

If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, it is important to see a fertility specialist. They will be able to determine if low sperm count is the cause of your infertility and, if so, create a treatment plan to help you conceive.

Sperm Count Test

Scrotal ultrasound:

This test uses sound waves to create an image of the testicles and surrounding structures. The image can show if there are any problems with the testicles or if they are a normal size.

Hormone testing:

This test can help to determine if any underlying medical conditions may be causing the low sperm count.

Post-ejaculation urinalysis:

The test is performed by collecting a urine sample after ejaculation and then testing the sample for the presence of sperm.

Testicular biopsy:

A testicular biopsy is a test that is done to remove a small piece of tissue from the testicles.

Anti-sperm antibody tests:

This test can also determine if a man's sperm are being attacked by his own immune system.

Transrectal ultrasound:

A transrectal ultrasound test is a quick and painless test that can be used to diagnose a low sperm count. This test uses sound waves to create a picture of the testicles and the surrounding structures.

There are various types of sperm count tests that doctors can use to diagnose a man's fertility. The most common test is the semen analysis, which measures the number, motility, and morphology of sperm in a sample of semen. This test can give a good indication of a man's overall sperm count.

Doctors may also use a more sensitive test called the sperm concentration test to measure the number of sperm in a given amount of semen. This test is often used to diagnose male infertility.

Doctors may also use a sperm viability test to determine if sperm are alive and able to fertilize an egg. This test is often used to diagnose sperm defects.

Finally, doctors may use a spermatozoa count test to determine the total number of sperm in the ejaculate. This test is often used to diagnose oligospermia or low sperm count. It is always better to consult your doctor if you have issues with your reproduction system or are unable to get your partner pregnant.

A doctor may be able to diagnose the problem by asking for your medical history, giving you a physical test, and recommending a semen analysis to check sperm motility and morphology. There are several male fertility home-testing kits available in pharmacies to check sperm count. However, it is better for you to see a doctor for the right diagnosis and treatment.

Additional read: Sperm Booster Foods


Having a low sperm count signs is quite a common condition for many men. However, with lifestyle changes, you can improve both the quality and sperm count with relative ease. Get a thorough sperm analysis or sperm count test done and follow treatment only on your doctor’s recommendation. Find urologists and other specialists near you and book an online appointment for doctor consultation easily on Bajaj Finserv Health. Get affordable treatment for a range of fertility issues and avail deals on healthcare availed at partner facilities too!

Published on 23 Aug 2021Last updated on 30 Jan 2023
  1. https://uscfertility.org/fertility-treatments/abnormal-sperm-counts/
  2. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/v/varicoceles
  3. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/vasectomy
  4. https://www.healthymale.org.au/mens-health/male-infertility

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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