Many couples tend to shy away from discussing the sensitive topic of infertility. However, avoiding the issue can cause stress in any relationship. That is why it is vital for you and your partner to seek expert advice from medical professionals in order to take the right steps towards a successful pregnancy. In 2017, a systematic review published in the Human Reproduction Update journal found that the sperm count among men living in Western countries has collectively declined by more than 50 percent in a span of fewer than four decades. This startling statistic begs the question: What causes male infertility?
Low sperm count/quality
Sperm problems can sometimes be genetic, due to long-term illnesses, poor lifestyle choices (such as smoking and drinking) or traced back to childhood infections such as mumps. Certain medications like anabolic steroids and drugs to treat hair loss have been known to lower sperm quantity. In its most severe form, there could be a total lack of sperm in the semen, a condition known as azoospermia. Two out of 10 men who suffer from azoospermia have a blockage in their reproductive tract caused by a developmental defect or a previous infection.
Varicoceles are dilated and enlarged veins in the scrotum. This causes the testicles to heat up, which in turn impairs sperm function. Although varicocele affects up to 40 percent of infertile men, it can be rectified with minor surgery to tie the veins off.
Some instances of ejaculatory disorders include premature ejaculation (where the ejection of semen occurs too early, even before penetration) and retrograde ejaculation (where the semen flows back into the bladder instead of out the penis). While ejaculatory disorders can greatly impact a couple’s ability to conceive, they can be overcome with medication.
Erectile dysfunction occurs when a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection. It is more common with age, although performance anxiety or overwhelming stress can result in psychogenic erectile dysfunction.
Certain hormones like luteinizing hormone (LH) are vital for normal testicular function such as the production of testosterone. An imbalance in hormone production may be caused by growths in some organs or the consumption of certain medication, thus affecting one’s sperm production and sexual function.
Taking the next step
Regardless of the root cause of a couple’s infertility, the journey to a successful pregnancy should start by evaluating the sexual health of both partners. For example, a routine semen sample analysis can accurately determine a man’s sexual potency and fertility potential. While many would shy away from having a candid discussion about their sexual health, it is vital for couples to do so in order to boost their chances of conception.
Men’s health screening is available at StarMed Specialist Centre.
StarMed Specialist Centre is a one-stop private ambulatory care center that provides medical services performed on an outpatient basis without hospital admission. Although multidisciplinary in terms of specialties, the center has a focus on cardiovascular and urological conditions. It also specializes in providing 3 diagnostic services and minimally invasive surgeries within one day. Armed with an experienced team of specialists, nurses and care associates, StarMed Specialist Centre is a quality private healthcare solution that you can place your trust in.