Almost one in six couples experience fertility problems; though studies show that 40% of the time, infertility is caused by female factors, it is 40% of the time caused by male factors and 20% of the time by a combination of both. This means if a couple has been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, the man should definitely check out his sperm count.
Causes of Male Factor Infertility.
If a man can’t produce enough sperm or if the sperm’s shape (morphology) or ability to swim (motility) is impaired, it will be unable to fertilize the egg. According to Chinese medicine, a person’s reproductive health is dependent on their body and mind being in proper balance. Factors such as stress, unhealthy lifestyle, and inadequate diet can cause unbalance, resulting in poor health, including impaired semen quality and quantity.
The following issues are the most common causes of male factor infertility.
1. Structural Problems
Various structural problems, such as blockages, can obstruct the passage of sperm or impair the ability to produce healthy sperm. These can result in several conditions, such as:
- Undescended testes
2. Hormonal Imbalances
Imbalances can be caused by a lack of communication between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the testes, and can affect a man’s ability to produce healthy sperm.
3. Infection and Disease
Many health conditions or diseases, including diabetes, cystic fibrosis and mumps or any extended period of high fever, can reduce sperm production. Furthermore, untreated infections can cause structural damage or affect the healthy production of sperm. As men are continually producing sperm, the infection effects may be reversible if no scarring or blockage has occurred; sperm function may be restored over time.
Although age has more impact on women’s fertility than on men’s, increasingly studies are showing that age can play an issue with male infertility. Bodily changes that occur as a result of aging include:
- Decreased hormone levels
- Decreased testicular function
- Decreased sperm production
5. Environmental Factors
There has been a dramatic decrease in men’s sperm counts worldwide. While the reason for this decline isn’t confirmed, many scientists believe environmental factors to be the cause. In particular, endocrine disrupters and increased estrogen exposure via environmental estrogenic chemicals or “Xenoestrogens” has coincided with the decline in sperm counts.
Additionally, working at a job where you are exposed to a lot of toxins can adversely affect your sperm count.
It is well documented that lifestyle factors can have an effect on sperm counts. These factors include:
- Unhealthy diet
- Excessive alcohol
- Hot tubs
- Size (BMI over 25)