All over the world today, more and more couples are being faced with the challenges of infertility caused by the problem of low sperm count from the men. If a man has fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen, then it can be said that he has a low sperm count. This condition is known as oligozoospermia. Low sperm count is very a common condition and is associated with infertility i.e. the inability to become a father.
Symptoms of Low Sperm Count
The main sign of low sperm count is the inability to conceive a child. There might be no other obvious signs or symptoms. In some men, an underlying problem such as an inherited chromosomal abnormality, a hormonal imbalance, dilated testicular veins or a condition that blocks the passage of sperm may cause signs and symptoms. Low sperm count symptoms might include:
- Problems with sexual function — for example, low sex drive or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area
- Decreased facial or body hair or other signs of a chromosome or hormone abnormality
Causes of Low Sperm Count
The production of sperm is a complex process and requires normal functioning of the testicles (testes) as well as the hypothalamus and pituitary glands — organs in your brain that produce hormones that trigger sperm production. Once sperm are produced in the testicles, delicate tubes transport them until they mix with semen and are ejaculated out of the penis. Problems with any of these systems can affect sperm production.
Also, there can be problems of abnormal sperm shape (morphology), movement (motility) or function.
However, often the cause of low sperm count isn’t identified.
Treatments for low sperm count
If you or your partner has been diagnosed with a low sperm count, there are several options available.
Your doctor may initially suggest trying to conceive naturally for a little longer. Many couples conceive within the second year of trying.
You can help maximise your chances of conceiving by:
- having sex every 2 or 3 days
- moderating your alcohol consumption and stopping smoking
- staying in good shape, exercising regularly and having a healthy, balanced diet
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