In Nigeria and some parts of the world, when a couple finds it difficult to conceive, people will naturally suspect that the problem is from the woman. Male infertility is a common condition, and it could be that the couple can’t get pregnant because there’s something wrong with the man’s reproductive system.
What is male infertility?
Someone is said to be infertile if they have been trying to get pregnant without success for a year. When it comes to the number of couples who can’t get pregnant despite having unprotected sex, about 15 – 20 couples are affected.
Statistics have shown that 1 in 3 cases of infertile couples have this problem because the man is struggling with infertility. Male infertility therefore is defined as the health issues that can affect a man’s ability to impregnate a woman.
As can be seen from the numbers, cases of male infertilityare almost as many as female infertility.
Unlike the case of female infertility, most men don’t know they have a problem with reproduction until they start actively trying to make a baby. This is usually not the case with people who have had lifelong genetic disorders, men who suffered childhood diseases that can cause infertility (mumps, etc.), men erectile dysfunction and those with hormonal issues that reduce their body hair.
The male reproductive system
To impregnate a woman, a man’s body usually goes through a natural process. The first step in the process is that the man must be able to process healthy, viable sperm cells. Also, he must have at least one functioning testicle, and his body must produce testosterone as well as other hormones that help with the reproductive process.
The semen has to be able to travel to meet the female eggs in order for fertilization to occur. If the sperm count is low or the sperm is unable to move the right way, then the man may have a problem with impregnating a woman.
Causes of infertility in men
There are many reasons why a man may end up suffering from male infertility. These causes can be genetic, hormonal, or even due to the lifestyle of the man.
Some factors that can affect a man’s fertility are:
Some infections can have a negative effect on sperm production and motility. If there’s scarring involved, then it could lead to blockage which would mean that sperm doesn’t travel easily. Infections to watch out for are STDs like HIV, gonorrhea, inflammation of the epididymis, inflammation of the testicles, etc.
2. Hormonal imbalance
Hormonal imbalance is sometimes the underlying cause of this condition. Any disorder that affects the adrenal, pituitary and thyroid glands can also be a contributing factor. If the problem is caused by low testosterone, doctors can look into treating it to remedy the male infertilityissue.
3. Past surgical operations
Surgery could leave scars that can impede on a man’s fertility. These surgeries include prostate surgeries, abdominal surgeries, vasectomy, testicular surgery, scrotal surgery, inguinal hernia repairs, etc.
In cases where the problem stems from past surgeries, corrective surgeries can be performed to repair the condition. Your doctor will note your medical history during your fertility examination and suggest corrective surgeries if that will fix the problem.
When the veins that drain the testicles swell up and cause blockage, then it can be referred to as a varicocele. This is one of the most common causes of male infertility. This condition is reversible, however. It is suspected that varicocele happens when a man’s genital region gets overheated. This overheating can in turn lead to a reduction in the quality of sperm.
Men have been advised to avoid placing their laptops on their thighs to prevent overheating.
5. Sexual problems
Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and pain during sexual intercourse are also some factors that can cause male infertility.
Smoking, excessive drinking and drug abuse can have devastating effects on the male reproductive system. Men who are looking to reverse male infertilityare often advised to clean up their lifestyle by eating right, exercising and giving up smoking and drinking.
If the problem is caused by your lifestyle choices, here are some of the things you can do to reverse it:
• Quit smoking
• Watch your alcohol consumption
• Lose weight if your BMI is too high
• Make sure your testicles don’t get overheated (avoid placing laptops on your thighs)
• Reduce stress
• Eat a balanced diet
• Drink enough water
• Treat STDs promptly
• See a doctor to treat any underlying cause of this problem
Gone are the days when women were solely blamed for infertility. Medical advancements have led to the realization that male infertilityis sometimes the cause of a couple’s childlessness. This article has treated the common causes of male infertilityand the lifestyles changes you can make to ensure it doesn’t become a problem for you.