When it comes to growing a family, the experience can be one of the most exciting times of your life. But, it can also be a stressful, anxious, and challenging time in your life. When looking for infertility resources, advice, and general material to help you get through this journey, most information tends to be geared towards women. But, we can’t forget that male infertility can also affect the parenthood journey, and providing those helpful pieces of information can go a long way.
Causes of Male Infertility
Many couples experience infertility and approximately 35% is due to male factors. With that being said, 35% of infertility is due to female factors, 20% is due to a combination of male and female factors, and 10% is due to unexpected causes. After deciding to seek out fertility help, it’s important that both you and your partner are evaluated to understand where this journey will take you.
There are many different causes that could factor into male infertility, but sperm disorders tend to be the most frequent. A sperm disorder could mean the sperm count is low in numbers (oligospermia), the count is nonexistent (azoospermia), the sperm is not growing fully, or in some cases, sperm does not swim the right way.
So what exactly happens when a male is dealing with sperm issues? In some cases, it can simply be a trait that you were born with. In addition to genetic causes, sperm can also be affected by lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking, long-term illnesses, childhood illnesses, and hormone problems. In addition to these common causes, there are a variety of other factors that can affect male infertility such as:
- Chromosome defects
- Undescended testicles
- Celiac disease
- Overheating of the testicles
- Industrial chemicals
- Drug or alcohol use
- Tobacco use
- Emotional stress or depression
If you believe your infertility issues are due to sperm, in addition to medical and surgical treatments, there are a variety of natural ways to increase your sperm count on your own. Some of these options include:
- Exercise more frequently
- Reduce your stress levels and relax more
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake
- Avoid taking too many medications
- Increase an intake of antioxidant foods
- Get enough Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc
Although there are a variety of causes when it comes to male infertility, remember you’re not alone through this journey. With the help of your partner and your fertility doctor, nothing is impossible when it comes to your path toward parenthood and becoming a father.
Symptoms of Male Infertility
After you understand the causes of male infertility, it’s important to be familiar with the symptoms as you embark down the path toward parenthood. Although some males do not experience any symptoms having to do with male infertility, they may not have realized some of the common physical conditions that could link to trouble with infertility. Below are some common symptoms of male infertility to take not of when looking to grow your family:
1. Pain in the Testicles
There are a variety of reasons why you might be experiencing pain or swelling in the region of your testicals, whether the pain is just in one spot or the entirety of the area. It’s important to not ignore these symptoms, but instead reach out to a medical professional to better understand what may be happening to your body.
2. Changes in Sexual Desire
Males produce a great amount of testosterone, which is a hormone closely related to the sex drive. It is likely that when your sexual desire decreases, there is something happening with your hormones. Realizing that a change in your sex drive might be a sign of male infertility, rather than just an off day, is the first step in getting the medical help that you need.
3. Issues with Ejaculation
One of the main symptoms when it comes to your sperm health is issues with ejaculation. If you are experiencing this, you may be going through male infertility. This could be due to sperm not being carried into the semen to complete ejaculation, not enough sperm, or incorrect function of the sperm to correctly to travel to the woman’s egg. If you’re experiencing any sort of an issue with ejaculation, you should take this as a sign to see your male fertility specialist.
Treatments for Male Infertility
Once you understand what the causes and symptoms of male infertility are, it’s time to seek out treatment to help with your ultimate goal, growing a family. Even if you have found the root of the issue, if you have experienced any sort of symptom that might be directed toward infertility, it doesn’t hurt to set up a consultation with your fertility specialist. Treatments for male infertility can include surgery or fertility medications, but to truly understand the treatment path you need to take you should have a doctor look further into your symptoms.
Below are some of the following male infertility treatments you can seek out during your path to becoming a father:
- Hormone Medications: This type of treatment is used to increase the functionality of the pituitary gland, allowing the gland to make hormones that will help the testicles produce more testosterone and sperm. With better sperm production, the sperm count is able to make a more effective swim to the female egg.
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG): Sometimes used with ART treatment, hCG is administered to stimulate the testes to produce testosterone, allowing more sperm to do its job.
- Varicocelectomy: This treatment is a minor outpatient surgery used to repair varicoceles (dilated scrotal veins). The goal behind this repair is to improve sperm movement and structure, allowing the sperm to fertilize the female egg.
The path toward parenthood is no easy journey, especially if you are taking on the path with male infertility. After you’ve educated yourself on some of the common causes and symptoms of male infertility, you can then begin to understand the treatments you need to consider when looking to have a baby. Although this path may be a difficult one, Dr. Littman and the team at Red Rock Fertility Center is with you every step of the way. Schedule your consultation today and let us help you grow a beautiful family.