Causes of Male Factor Infertility
Infertility isn’t always a comfortable topic to bring up in conversation. But, if you and your partner have been trying to conceive without any success, it may be time to discuss male-factor infertility with a licensed and trusted fertility doctor.
At Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, our team of fertility experts has been helping hopeful parents grow their families for years. Our dedication to honesty, compassion, and respect makes us one of the top fertility clinics in Omaha, NE.
When it comes to conception, understanding the causes of male-factor infertility is key. Here, our team discusses various causes of male-factor infertility and what to do about them.
Medical Causes of Male Infertility
There are numerous medical factors that can influence male fertility, including:
- Varicoceles: This is the enlargement or swelling of the veins in the scrotum. Experts do not know why varicoceles develop, but abnormal blood flow may be the culprit. There are surgical and non-surgical treatment options to address varicoceles.
- Malignant and non-malignant tumors: Testicular tumors can interfere with hormones and ejaculation. Surgical intervention may be necessary to remove tumors.
- Cryptorchidism: This is a condition in which one or both of the testicles fail to drop from the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal development. Cryptorchidism often corrects itself over time, but surgery can relocate the testicles if necessary.
- Retrograde ejaculation: Typically related to other health issues (like diabetes and nerve damage), retrograde ejaculation is the redirection of sperm into the bladder rather than out of the penis. Medications may help prevent retrograde ejaculation.
- Hormone imbalances: Hormonal imbalances in the hypothalamus, thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands can cause low testosterone. Hormone therapy may be a solution to combat low testosterone.
Environmental Causes of Male Infertility
Toxins and environmental factors are an ever-present threat to male fertility, including:
- Exposure to heavy metals: Many metals (like elemental mercury) are known neurotoxins. Limiting exposure is crucial to the health and motility of sperm.
- Industrial chemicals: Pesticides, herbicides, and paint all contain chemicals that are harmful to spermatogenesis. Patients should avoid exposure to industrial chemicals while trying to conceive.
- Radiation: Radiation can unravel the DNA inside sperm. Therefore, patients should schedule x-rays around their family planning.
- Pressure and heat: Extended periods of pressure and heat can damage sperm cells. We recommend wearing loose clothing, avoiding saunas and hot tubs, and limiting long sitting spells.
Health and Lifestyle Causes of Male Infertility
Certain health conditions and behaviors can place males at an increased risk of developing fertility issues. Common lifestyle factors include:
- Obesity: Research indicates that the chances of male infertility increase by approximately 10% for every 20 pounds that an individual is overweight. Losing even 5% of one’s body weight can make a considerable difference in sperm quality and quantity.
- Alcohol: Alcohol in any quantity can affect testosterone levels, which can lead to erectile dysfunction and decreased sperm production.
- Tobacco use: Data suggests that smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day can cause a 19% reduction in sperm count compared to non-smokers. Patients who are trying to conceive should significantly reduce or quit smoking.
- Drug use: Recreational drugs (like cocaine and anabolic steroids) can greatly reduce sperm production. Avoiding these drugs may restore sperm counts to normal levels.
Address Causes of Male-Factor Infertility Now
If you believe that you or your partner may be experiencing male-factor infertility, then don’t delay. Contact the team at Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine in Omaha, NE, today. We can help you pinpoint the cause of infertility so that you can begin expanding your family.
Patients can reach us online, or they may call our friendly team at (402) 717-4200 now.