When a couple can’t get pregnant, often the problem is assumed to be the woman’s but in reality, half of the time it’s due to the man. Male infertility is more common than you think. So what causes male infertility? Below are 13 causes of male infertility:
1) Sperm Defects
Sperm defects are the most common cause of male infertility. The shape, movement and concentration of sperm can all cause infertility. Low sperm count is also common.
Varicocele is an enlargement of veins that drain blood from the testicle back to the heart. This condition is present in 15% of the male population and 40% of infertile men. It is associated with abnormal sperm.
3) Undescended Testicle
An undescended testicle is known as cryptoorchidism. It is the absence of one or both testes from the scrotum. It is often present at birth, and should be addressed. When the testicle has not properly descended into the scrotum the temperature is too warm for normal sperm production.
Obstructions may be caused by scarring of the structures that carry the sperm, most commonly from trauma, surgery or infections.
5) Retrograde Ejaculation
Retrograde ejaculation is where semen is ejaculated into the bladder rather than out through the urethra because the bladder sphincter does not close during ejaculation. This condition may be treated with medications or surgical reconstruction of the bladder.
6) Genetic Abnormalities
Genetic abnormalities include conditions such as Klinefelter’s Syndrome. This is where each cell in the human body has an additional X chromosome. Physical symptoms include peanut-sized testicles and enlarged breasts. If this condition is treated in its early stages, sperm production may improve.
7) Sperm Antibodies
Sperm antibodies is where your own body is making antibodies against your sperm. They are most common after a vasectomy, and complicate successful reversal of this procedure.
8) Hormone Deficiencies
Hormone deficiencies can cause male infertility. The brain may fail to release the proper hormones to stimulate testosterone, men may have too much estrogen, or low thyroid hormone levels. Only a small percentage of male infertility is caused by hormone problems.
Illnesses or diseases can cause male infertility. Illnesses include mumps, tuberculosis, brucellosis, typhoid, influenza, smallpox, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. Diseases include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia.
Toxins include cigarettes, alcohol, many of the illegal drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana. Medications can also be toxic to sperm production. Examples are antibiotics, blood pressure medications, steroids, statins, antidepressants, and Propecia (used for hair loss). Environmental toxins include sexual lubricants, pesticides, lead, paint, radiation, radioactive substances, mercury, benzene, boron, and heavy metals.
Diet must include adequate nutrient dense calories, especially fat soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E and K2), vitamin C and zinc. Certain foods contain these vitamins abundantly and are particularly helpful for male infertility. They include grassland meats, unpasteurized dairy products, egg yolks, shellfish (especially oysters) and liver.
12) Excessive Exercise
Exercise, if done to excess, can cause infertility. Studies show this may be due to hormone imbalances.
13) Excessive Heat Exposure
Excessive heat exposure may include tight underwear or pants, hot tubs, and saunas, as well as some of the medical conditions discussed above that cause the testicles to become overly hot.
Remember, infertility is due to the man just as often as the woman, and often both have a problem. These 13 causes of male infertility give you an idea of the possible male issues, with sperm defects being by far the most common cause of male infertility.