23 Jan What Is Oligospermia Low Sperm Count: Causes, Symptoms, and Solution
Discover the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for Oligospermia. Learn about the impact on fertility, lifestyle changes, and prevention strategies. Get expert insights and a personal account, plus answers to FAQs. Boost your knowledge of male reproductive health.
As the name states, it has to do something with male sperm count. In simpler terms, Oligospermia meaning refers to a low sperm count in men. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), Oligospermia Low Sperm count refers to a sperm count of less than 15 million per milliliter of semen. While it does not necessarily mean infertility, it majorly affects the chances of a couple’s ability to conceive.
According to the WHO factsheet in 2021, low sperm count and male infertility are now a global problem. On a global level, this affects 15% of couples. The factsheet also stated that lifestyle factors contribute to up to 30% of male infertility.
Oligospermia, often referred to as low sperm count, is a condition where the semen contains fewer sperm than the normal range. This condition plays a pivotal role in male infertility, necessitating a closer look at its intricacies.
What Causes Oligospermia?
Oligospermia is a condition characterized by a low sperm count in the ejaculate. Several factors can contribute to oligospermia, and it is often a result of a combination of these factors. Some common causes include:
- Varicocele: This is a condition where the veins on the testicles become enlarged, leading to overheating of the testicles. Elevated temperatures in the testicles can negatively impact sperm production.
- Hormonal imbalances: Disruptions in hormone levels, particularly those related to the reproductive system (such as low levels of testosterone), can affect sperm production.
- Infections: Certain infections, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or infections of the reproductive organs, can interfere with sperm production and quality.
- Genetic factors: Some genetic conditions can affect sperm production or function. For example, conditions like Klinefelter syndrome can result in lower sperm counts.
- Testicular injury or trauma: Physical injuries to the testicles, radiation exposure, or chemotherapy can damage the cells responsible for sperm production.
- Undescended testicles (cryptorchidism): If the testicles do not descend properly into the scrotum, it can lead to problems with sperm production due to the higher internal body temperature.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as toxins, chemicals, or excessive heat, can adversely affect sperm production.
- Lifestyle factors: Poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and obesity, can contribute to low sperm count.
- Certain medications: Some medications, such as certain antifungal drugs, anabolic steroids, and chemotherapy medications, can impact sperm production.
- Age: Advanced age can also be a factor in reduced sperm count and quality.
It’s important to note that in many cases, the exact cause of oligospermia may not be identified, and it could be a combination of various factors. If a person is concerned about their sperm count or fertility, they should consult with a healthcare professional or a fertility specialist for a thorough evaluation and appropriate guidance.
What are Oligospermia Symptoms?
Oligospermia, or low sperm count, often does not present with specific symptoms that are easily noticeable. In many cases, it may only be identified when a couple experiences difficulty conceiving. However, there are no clear and distinct symptoms directly associated with oligospermia itself. Instead, the underlying causes or contributing factors may lead to symptoms related to the condition. Some of these underlying causes and associated symptoms may include:
- Issues with Sexual Function: Oligospermia may be linked to problems with sexual function, such as difficulty maintaining an erection or ejaculatory issues.
- Pain or Swelling: Conditions like varicocele, which is a common cause of low sperm count, can sometimes cause pain or swelling in the testicles.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Hormonal imbalances associated with oligospermia might lead to symptoms such as reduced facial or body hair, gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue), or a decrease in muscle mass.
- Testicular Atrophy: In some cases, testicular atrophy (shrinkage of the testicles) may occur, especially if there is damage to the testicular tissue.
- Ejaculate Changes: Changes in the appearance or consistency of semen may be observed, although these changes can be subtle and may not always be noticeable.
- Pain during Intercourse or Ejaculation: Infections or inflammatory conditions affecting the reproductive system may cause pain during sexual activities.
Treatments for Oligospermia:
The treatment of oligospermia (low sperm count) depends on its underlying cause. In some cases, addressing the root cause may improve sperm production and fertility. Here are some potential treatments and interventions for oligospermia:
- Lifestyle Modifications:
- Healthy Diet: Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet can positively impact overall health and potentially improve sperm production.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity can contribute to overall well-being, including reproductive health.
- Avoiding Environmental Toxins:
- Limiting Exposure: Minimizing exposure to environmental factors, such as toxins, chemicals, and excessive heat, that may negatively affect sperm production.
- Treatment of Underlying Medical Conditions:
- Varicocele Repair: Surgical correction of varicoceles (enlarged veins in the testicles) may improve sperm count in some cases.
- Hormone Therapy: Addressing hormonal imbalances through hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be recommended in specific situations.
- Fertility Medications:
- Clomiphene Citrate: This medication may be prescribed to stimulate hormonal production, which can, in turn, enhance sperm production.
- Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART):
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Sperm is collected, processed, and then inserted directly into the woman’s uterus during the ovulation period.
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): In this process, eggs and sperm are combined outside the body, and the resulting embryos are implanted into the woman’s uterus.
- Sperm Retrieval Techniques:
- Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA) or Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA): Sperm can be directly retrieved from the epididymis or testicles for use in assisted reproductive procedures.
- Antioxidant Supplements:
- Supplementation: Antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin E and selenium, may be recommended to reduce oxidative stress and improve sperm quality.
- Changes in Medications:
- Adjusting Medications: If medications are identified as a potential cause of oligospermia, a healthcare provider may recommend changes to the medication regimen.
For the ones who are experiencing the challenges of conception due to oligospermia, it is important to consult an expert in the respective field. Lifestyle changes, appropriate diet, medications, or advanced fertility treatments can improve the chances of conception.
While many medical companies and organizations help men or couples with Oligospermia and conception, Aurawomen is the leading IVF Clinic in Delhi that offers IVF and other treatments for couples. With its complete transparency, Aurawomen helps couples find the best solution for their problems.