Although infertility has traditionally been thought of as a female issue, men too can suffer from fertility problems. Some of the most common causes of infertility in men are:
Also known as scrotum varicose veins, varicocele is the enlargement of veins within the scrotum. Varicocele can affect one or both testes and often negatively impacts sperm quality. This condition often presents with no other symptoms.
Infection that develops in the testes, such as gonorrhea or general inflammation, can affect sperm production and quality. In some instances, an infection can lead to scarring that blocks the passage of sperm.
Certain ejaculation disorders, such as premature ejaculation and anejaculation (failure to ejaculate), can impact fertility. Retrograde ejaculation, which occurs when semen enters the bladder during orgasm, can also cause infertility.
In some men, the immune system identifies sperm as a harmful invader and sends out antibodies to eliminate them. The main types of anti-sperm antibodies include immunoglobulin A (IgA), immunoglobulin G (IgG), and immunoglobulin M (IgM).
Both cancerous and noncancerous growths can have a direct impact on a man’s reproductive system. These tumors are often found in the glands that release hormones, such as the pituitary gland. There are a number of treatments used to treat tumors that cause male infertility, such as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Also known as cryptorchidism, one or both testicles may fail to descend from the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal development. Men who have this condition are more likely to suffer from infertility.
Abnormalities that affect the hormonal system, including the pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, and adrenal glands, can cause infertility. Low levels of testosterone and similar hormonal problems can have various underlying causes.
Blockage of Sperm Transport:
Blockages or defects in the tubes that drain the testicles can result in fertility problems. Blocked tubules can have a number of causes, such as abnormal development, trauma, infections, or conditions such as cystic fibrosis.
Certain hereditary disorders can affect the normal development of male reproductive organs. One example is Klinefelter’s syndrome which occurs when a male is born with one Y chromosome and two X chromosomes instead of one Y and one X.
Sexual Intercourse Problems:
Some men may experience problems during sexual intercourse, such as painful intercourse, premature ejaculation, difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction), or may have structural defects such as hypospadias, a condition in which the opening of the penis is on the underside instead of the tip. In some instances, psychological or social issues can impact normal sexual function.
Certain medications, such as antifungal drugs and some ulcer medications can impair sperm production. Long-term anabolic steroid use, chemotherapy, or testosterone replacement therapy can also reduce male fertility.
If you have had certain types of surgeries in the past, you may not have sufficient sperm in your ejaculate. Such surgeries could include inguinal hernia repairs, vasectomy, testicular or scrotal surgeries, prostate surgeries, or major abdominal surgeries for rectal or testicular cancers. Surgery may be offered to remove the obstruction or to retrieve sperm from the testicles.
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a common protein found in rye, barley, and wheat. It can sometimes affect fertility. Maintaining a diet free of gluten may improve fertility.