HEALTH TESTS
August 23rd, 2021
3 mins read

Significant Signs of Low Sperm Count and 3 Major Types of Causes

Low sex drive and hormonal abnormalities are signs of low sperm count

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 a low sperm count. 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 [1]. Besides the count, sperm motility is another important factor for pregnancy and experts suggest that at least 40-50% should be moving forward [1].

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 this condition, the causes of low sperm count, and tips to increase sperm count, read on. 

Signs of low sperm count 

People often don’t find any signs and symptoms of low sperm count 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

Additional read: Masturbation Effects on Health: Benefits and Side Effects 

tips to increase sperm count

Causes of low sperm count

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

Medical causes 

  • Varicoceles [2] 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.

Additional read: Important Things to Know About Your Lungs This World Lung Cancer Day

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.

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. 

Sperm count test 

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.

Having a low sperm count is quite a common condition for many men [4]. 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 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!

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